Two Bard College students were killed and another was injured in a midnight hit-and-run on Route 9G in Tivoli.
A Red Hook woman was subsequently arrested and charged with felony drunk driving, according to the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s report said deputies responded at approximately 11:50pm and found two victims dead at the scene.
The victims were identified as Evelina Martin Brown, 20, of Seattle, Wash., and Sarah McCausland, 19, of Winnetka, Ill.
Another person, who was not identified, had non-life threatening injuries, the sheriff’s report said.
The report said the investigation was ongoing but preliminary findings showed that a group of people were walking southbound on the west side of Route 9G, just north of Broadway (West Kerley Corners Rd) when three of them were struck by a southbound vehicle, which then left the scene. The vehicle was located after a short time.
Red Hook resident Carol Boeck, 63, was arrested and charged with felony DWI, because of a prior conviction, and felony vehicular manslaughter. She was arraigned in Village of Tivoli Court, and then remanded to the Dutchess County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.
One of the two victims, Sarah McCausland, had worked at the Enchanted Cafe in Red Hook last fall through college finals, and was looking forward to resuming her work as a waitress now that college classes had resumed, according to cafe owner Joe Moscato.
Moscato said McCausland, a college freshman from Chicago, had come in to the cafe on Friday. “We talked about the future… her new schedule, moving forward,” he told the Observer. “I gave her the tips from the last time she worked, I gave her a cup of coffee, and she said she was going to be off to meet some friends.”
She was, he said, “just a sweet kid, a hard worker, never slacked off. She was also very serious, about her job, about school. ..’What else can I do?’ she would always ask.”
Moscato said he was stunned to hear about McCausland, even more so because he had been talking online Friday night with a friend who lived right where the crash happened.
His friend told him there was an accident outside, “she went out to see if she can help…she was stunned,” he said.
He told her to let the emergency responders help the victims, not knowing he was talking about “probably Sarah.”
Initial word of the tragedy came from a campus-wide e-mail statement issued Saturday morning by Bard College President Leon Botstein.
“It is with sadness and profound regret that I inform the community that at midnight February 1, several students who were walking along the shoulder of 9G just north of the Tivoli intersection were struck by a hit-and-run driver,” Botstein’s statement said.
In his statement, Botstein said a number of campus centers would be open on Saturday and Sunday for student counseling and support.
County Executive Marc Molinaro, a former mayor of Tivoli, sent in the Dutchess County Trauma team to help people cope in the aftermath.
The team, he said in a statement, has been in contact with the college “and is available to assist students as they cope with this tragedy. [It] is also available to any community members who may been need assistance. ”
In his statement, Molinaro added, “We extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of those impacted by today’s tragic incident in Tivoli… May all those affected find comfort in the company of friends, family and faith during this difficult time.”
Tivoli’s mayor, Bryan Cranna, issued his own online condolence statement to the Bard community.
“This senseless and tragic incident impacts so many, and we pray for those who will feel this loss in their hearts. Let us also remember and commend our first responders that were on the scene,” he said.
Boeck’s attorney, Michael Pollok, told the Observer she was a lifelong resident of Red Hook.
In a statement, he added, “We are still investigating this horrible tragedy and we have yet to determine whether my client was involved in this accident. But I can say that my client and her family are absolutely devastated by the loss of life of these young people.”
The ongoing investigation is continuing by the Sheriff’s Office Crash Investigation Unit in conjunction with the Detective and Patrol Divisions. Assisting at the scene were the Northern Dutchess Paramedics, Village of Red Hook Police, the Tivoli Fire Dept. and Bard College.
Clarification: This story has been updated with new information from the Sheriff’s Department that the victims were heading south on the west side of Route 9G when they were struck.