Vigil to mark crash anniversary

TICONDEROGA - A candlelight vigil will be held in Ticonderoga to mark the first anniversary of an accident that shocked the community.

The vigil, organized by Sheri Osier, will be held Tuesday, April 21, at 7 p.m. in Bicentennial Park.

Osier said the vigil is designed to honor the memory of Shannon James, who died in a crash along with Michaella "Mika" Lopes, and to highlight the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

Essex County District Attorney Julie Garcia and Ticonderoga Supervisor Bob Dedrick will participate, Osier said.

For more information contact Osier at 585-6056. All are welcome to attend.

Dustin St. Andrews, 16, of Putnam was driving a car in April 2008 that crashed in Putnam, killing James of Ticonderoga and Lopes of Enosburg, Vt. 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.

St. Andrews agreed to a plea bargain in Washington County Court last October that sent him to state prison for 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 years.

St. Andrews was to stand trial on a 23-count indictment that charged him with two counts of second-degree murder and a host of lesser charges in the April 21 deaths.

The girls were passengers in a Cadillac sedan St. Andrews was driving at nearly 130 mph on Route 22 in Putnam when the vehicle careened off the highway. Both girls were thrown from the vehicle. Lopes was pronounced dead at the scene, while James died the next day.

St. Andrews and two young men survived with minor injuries.

In court, St. Andrews admitted he had been drinking beer and smoking marijuana before the crash. A blood-alcohol test after the crash found his blood-alcohol content to be 0.12 percent. The state's threshold for intoxication is 0.08 percent.

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