On January 31, 2014, there was a fatal DWI accident in Tivoli, New York. Tragically, two Bard College students, 20 year old Evelina Brown of Seattle, and 19 year old Sarah McCausland of Winnetka, Illinois, were killed, and a third student, Selena Frandsen, suffered non life threatening injuries. The accident occurred at approximately 11:53 PM, when the three women were walking northbound on the shoulder of State Route 9G, (there is no sidewalk at the scene) just north of its intersection with Broadway. A 1987 Jeep Wrangler allegedly operated by Carol Boeck, 63, of Red Hook, struck them and then is alleged to have left the scene.
The only survivor of the accident, Ms. Frandsen, provided Dutchess County police with a description of the car, and Ms. Boeck was apprehended a short distance away from the accident scene. It has not been reported what Ms. Boeck’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was at the time of the accident, nor is there any information as to Ms. Boeck’s whereabouts prior to the crash. Under the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law, a driver with a BAC of 0.08% or above is legally intoxicated. A level of 0.18% or above is grounds for a charge of aggravated DWI, which is a misdemeanor unless there has been a previous DWI charge in the last 10 years, upgrading the crime to a felony.
The Journal News reports that Boeck had a prior DWI conviction in 2005 based upon a review of records from the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office. Under Leandra’s Law, a driver with a prior DWI within the last 10 years is automatically charged with a felony, and no plea bargains will be offered.
Ms. Boeck has been charged with first degree vehicular manslaughter and felony DWI as a result of the prior conviction. She was arrested and arraigned at the Village of Tivoli Court, and jailed on $50,000 cash bail, which she posted on February 1, 2014. The highest charge, the first degree vehicular manslaughter charge, is as a result of the fact that Ms. Boeck is alleged to have had a prior DWI conviction in 2005, and caused the death of more than one person. First degree vehicular manslaughter is a Class C felony under the Penal Law and can result in a jail term of up to fifteen years if Boeck is convicted. She is charged with two counts of first degree vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of Ms. Brown and Ms. McCausland.
Ms. Boeck is due back in Court on February 3, 2014. In addition to a jail sentence, it is likely that she will be facing a term of probation, a revocation of her driver’s license, mandatory attendance at a drinking driver program and victim’s impact panel, fines, the requirement that she install an ignition interlock device in her car whenever she is permitted to operate a motor vehicle again in the future, (which will be determined by the Dutchess County Probation Department in conjunction with the Court and DMV, and alcohol counseling sponsored by the County.