Man jailed for 2012 crash that killed Shen students denied parole

July 23, 2018 11:19 PM

The man who caused the Northway crash that killed two Shenenedehowa high schoolers and injured two other students is denied parole. Dennis Drue won't be considered for release for another two years.

The accident happened Dec. 1, 2012. The kids were coming back from the Siena-UAlbany basketball game. After just crossing the Twin Bridges, they were cut off and sent off the road.

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The man driving the other car was Dennis Drue. He was sentenced a year later -- December 2013, to five to 15 years after pleading guilty to 58 counts, including manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and DWI.

The accident killed Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers. The two others, Bailey Wind and Matt Hardy, were badly hurt.

"It's been an absolute nightmare and I don't think people understand fully until you go through something like this," said Wind. Wind, 22, recently graduated college and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

A petition began earlier this year to urge the state Parole Board to deny Drue, now 28-years old, parole.

On her Facebook page, Debbie Rivers posted that, "he (meaning Drue) will spend the next two years still behind bars where he should be and belongs. We want to thank especially our family, friends, the class of 2013, and the '518' for your love and continued support. Again, you all stood behind us when we needed it and our hearts thank you."

"It made us breathe easier to know that nobody had forgotten and that they were supportive of us and that no one agreed five years was enough time. So, that's always the biggest fear, I think, for those of us that are in it is that people are going to start to forget," said Regina Stewart, Chris' mom.

"We're hopeful. Regina and I have done a lot of work in the past couple of years. I think between that and the visual that we gave the Parole Board when we met with them in June – all of that documentation and so forth, I'd like to think that we did a pretty good job," said Michael Stewart, Chris' dad.

His attorney tried to get a change of venue, but that was denied. It was determined that Drue was drunk and high and texting that night.

He is eligible for parole in two more years. If he serves the maximum sentence, Drue will remain in prison until 2028.

"Even if Dennis Drue serves the maximum 15 years, he will walk out of prison someday," said Bailey Wind's mother, Dawn Wind. "Chris and Deanna will never walk out of their graves."

Later this week, the sixth race at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday is a memorial race dedicated to the memory of Chris Stewart.

Wind said every day is still challenging both mentally and physically, but she wants to continue to inspire others and spread a powerful message.

"Life is all about choices, and you just need to use it to make the right decision, because you don't know how your decisions are going to affect someone else," said Wind.


WNYT Staff

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