Driver in ’15 crash that killed 4 faces drug charge

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Pineiro-Zucker dpzucker@free­manon­ DianeAtFree­man on Twit­ter

The driver in a 2015 Sauger­ties car crash in which four men died has been charged with heroin pos­ses­sion in a week­end in­ci­dent, the Ul­ster County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said Wed­nes­day.

Mered­ith S. McSpirit, 20, of Rosendale, was charged with mis­de­meanor crim­i­nal pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance (heroin) and with hav­ing a cracked wind­shield, a traf­fic vi­o­la­tion, said Sher­iff’s Capt. Vin­cent Altieri.

About 3:15 p.m. Sun­day, deputies stopped McSpirit’s ve­hi­cle on Broad­way (U.S. Route 9W) in Esopus for the equip­ment vi­o­la­tion and no­ticed the smell of mar­i­juana com­ing from the ve­hi­cle, the Sher­iff’s Of­fice said. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion found a small quan­tity of heroin residue in a 3-inch­long plas­tic straw in the ve­hi­cle, Altieri said.

There were no pas­sen­gers in McSpirit’s ve­hi­cle at the time and she was not un­der the in­flu­ence of either drug, Altieri said. He said McSpirit told deputies the smell of mar­i­juana was present be­cause a pre­vi­ous pas­sen­ger in the ve­hi­cle had been smok­ing it.

McSpirit was re­leased with a ticket to ap­pear in Esopus Town Court.

On Aug. 26, 2015, McSpirit was the only sur­vivor of a crash,in which the ve­hi­cle she was driv­ing went down a 110-foot em­bank­ment, hit a house and landed on its roof on Dock Street in the vil­lage of Sauger­ties. She suf­fered a frac­tured spine in the crash.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion that ended in March found McSpirit might have hit the gas in­stead of the brake be­fore los­ing con­trol of the car, which be­longed to one of the men who died in the crash.

In the course of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, McSpirit told Sauger­ties po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors she smoked mar­i­juana reg­u­larly and had smoked mar­i­juana and K2, a syn­thetic mar­i­juana, the night be­fore the accident. Po­lice found mar­i­juana in her bag af­ter the crash, and she had traces of the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in mar­i­juana in her sys­tem about 90 min­utes later, ac­cord­ing to tox­i­col­ogy re­ports.

In Fe­bru­ary, an Ul­ster County grand jury cleared her of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing in the crash.


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