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Two Bard College students recently lost their lives and a third was injured after being mowed down by an alleged drunk driver in a hit in run in Tivoli in Dutchess County. The deceased were a 20-year-old woman from Seattle and a 19-year-old teenager from Winnetka, Illinois.

A 63-year-old woman was apprehended and charged with multiple traffic violations, including First Degree Vehicular Manslaughter, a Class C felony, and due to a prior conviction, Class E Felony DWI.

The Red Hook woman was arraigned at the Village of Tivoli Court and then taken to the Dutchess County Jail. Her bail was set at $50,000 cash or a $100,000 bond.

The woman was driving in the area of Broadway and 9G at approximately 11:50 p.m. when she struck the group of three pedestrians as they walked north on 9G. The driver fled the scene after the accident. Deputies were dispatched and located her shortly following the double fatality.

No one wants to live with the reality that their irresponsibility caused the death or serious injury of another. If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, however, there are things you can do to mitigate the damage.

After any accident, the driver should stop his or her vehicle and assess the condition of any injured parties. It is never a good idea to flee the scene. Today's technology almost guarantees you will be found and prosecuted, now with additional hit and run charges added. Call 911 to summon emergency responders to the scene who may be able to save the lives of any injured persons.

Do not give statements to anyone at the scene. Provide officers with your license, registration and insurance papers and ask to speak to an attorney. Be mindful that anything you utter at the scene will be used later by the prosecution, so keep mum.

Anyone facing these kinds of charges needs competent, experienced legal representation by an attorney well-versed in New York traffic laws. A skilled attorney can negotiate plea bargains and attempt to have charges reduced or thrown out on evidentiary challenges. Protect yourself and your freedom by retaining counsel as soon as possible after the incident.

Source: abclocal.go.com, "Dutchess County hit and run kills 2 Bard College students" No author given, Feb. 01, 2014

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