2 teens die, 2 others hurt in Pine Plains car crash

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Two teens were killed and another two injured, one critically, in a one-car accident in Pine Plains Aug. 29.

All four were students at Stissing Mountain High School, and preliminary media reports said they were all members of the football team on their way to practice.

According to the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the accident took place around 3:45pm on Schultz Hill Road, one mile south of Route 199, when the driver of the car apparently lost control, hit some trees and the vehicle overturned.

Zachary Pruner, 16, of Stanfordville and Gian Paolo Stagnaro, 17, of Pine Plains were declared dead at the scene. According to the Sheriff’s office, Pruner was ejected from the car.

The driver, Dustin Hale, 16, of Pine Plains, was transported to Albany Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Another passenger, Niall Johnson, 16, also of Pine Plains, was taken to St. Francis Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A news release from the sheriff’s office said the cause of the accident was still being investigated, but “at this time unsafe speed and reckless driving appear to be contributing factors.”

Preliminary investigation indicated that Hale was operating a 2000 Subaru Impreza northbound on Schultz Hill Road when he lost control and the vehicle left the roadway, struck multiple trees, and then rolled over, the sheriff’s report said.

In response to the tragedy, the Pine Plains school district opened the school and offered grievance counselors for students through next week when the school year officially starts.

Autopsies of the victims were scheduled for Aug. 31 at the Dutchess County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Pine Plains Fire Department.

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