Parent speaks out on underage drinking

TICONDEROGA Terri Granger has had enough. The Putnam mother believes its time people start talking about under-age drinking regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. Grangers 15-year-old son was involved in an alleged under-age drinking party Oct. 18 that resulted in the arrests of two adults and his hospitalization. Her son was rushed to Moses-Ludington Hospital suffering from alcohol poisoning after the party was discovered by Ticonderoga police officer Mike LaVallie. Officer LaVallie was persistent when he was told there was no party; thank God, Granger said. He (LaVallie) said when he found my son he thought he was dead. He was completely unresponsive. Her son was choking on his vomit. If he (LaVallie) had been a minute later my son would have been dead, Granger said. The Granger boys blood-alcohol content was three times the legal limit, according to his mother. Thats three times the legal limit for an adult, Granger said. My son weighs 90 pounds. Anthony OHara, 39, and his wife, Maria OHara, 38, of 222 Putts Pond Road were each charged with 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, 11 counts of unlawfully dealing with a child, a Class A misdemeanor, and one count of criminal nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor following the party. The couple is scheduled to appear in Ticonderoga town court Nov. 12 to answer the charges. Grangers son told his parents he was going to a friends home, a friend his parents know and trust. Instead, he went to the OHara home. My son made a bad choice, but he couldnt have made that choice if an adult hadnt supplied alcohol, Granger said. These decisions affect lives. Children and adults need to realize that. Granger said her son didnt plan on drinking, but succumbed to peer pressure. I hope hes learned his lesson, the mother said. He feels badly, he feels like he let us down. Thats not the point. The point is you have to do whats right and not give in to peer pressure. This is not Grangers first battle with under-age drinking. Ive been through this before with my four older kids; I have six kids, Granger said. Ive had to pick up my kids from homes and Ive screamed and yelled at parents who told me my kids would be safe with them. Im not tolerating this any more, she added. I want these parents prosecuted to the max. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in prison. How do you get through to your kids when other adults condone it? Granger asked. Its crazy. The investigation is continuing, Ti PD Sgt. Mark Johns stressed, and more charges are possible possibly against the children involved. Johns said Ti PD regularly responds to complaints of under-age drinking. Its a very routine call, he said. At least once every two weeks our department receives a complaint of under-age drinking. People should know, we do respond and we do make arrests. Johns noted the alleged party took place the day after Putnam teen Dustin St. Andrews was sentenced to state prison. St. Andrews, age 16, was driving a car in April that crashed, killing Shannon James of Ticonderoga and Michaella K. Mika Lopes of Enosburg, Vt. Both were 16 years old. Two other passengers were injured. St. Andrews pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular manslaughter, a felony, after Washington County prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges against him. Charges are still pending against St. Andrews parents, who are accused of allowing their son to host parties that served alcohol, including one in the hours before the crash. His mother, Kelli St. Andrews, 39, faces 17 misdemeanors, while his father, Jimmy Joe St. Andrews, 41, faces 14 misdemeanors. They have pleaded not guilty and are to stand trial beginning Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, respectively. LaVallie urged the public to report under-age drinking. All tips are confidential and anonymous, he said. We take every tip very seriously, he said. If the public knows of under-age drinking I guarantee we will investigate and take appropriate action. It could save a life.

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