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The Accident That Did Not Need to Happen

Witness' Statements Provided to State Police and in Depositions

Set in Chronological Order

 

The following provides a unique look into a campus environment which could only lead to tragedy and disaster.   What follows is largely the sworn statements of witnesses.   At the end are excerpts from a  North Country Public Radio interview of Paul Smith’s College President John Mill. 

 

Contents:

List of individuals providing statements

Events prior to tragic night:

January 29, 2005-Off campus fatal traffic accident

Paul Smith’s College-Friday night February 4, 2005

Saturday Night-February 5, 2005:

Preparation for party-liquor

Preparation for party-bonfire

Friends’ Arrival at Paul Smith’s

Saranac Lake Dinner and Fireworks

Josh’s room/celebration

Bonfire Party to 12:30AM

Bonfire-T. Marra visit

Bonfire-Reaction to T. Marra’s visit & Fog

Josh’s room-3 to 4:30AM

Rides at 4:30AM

Search for Kristine & Joshua

Aftermath

May 2007 Student Drowinings

President John Mills’ North Country Public Radio Interview

 

After reading through these materials, you decide:

1) Who was primarily responsible for the tragic loss of lives on St. Regis Lake,

2) Whether the view expressed by President Mills are appropriate for a college president, who parents rely upon to provide a safe environment for those entering college, and

3) Whether President Mill’s views when considered with the attitudes and practices on campus indicates that at least some of the signing presidents primarily wish to be relieved of any duty to control and moderate campus drinking practices?   

 

Statements included-

Christopher Hansen, DOB 4/1/85- student at Paul Smith’s College, father owned the snowmobile that he brought to campus

Loren B., DOB 7/17/05- Paul Smith’s College student

David  B., DOB 4/29/83- student at Paul Smith’s’ College

Robert R., DOB 4/12/83- Paul Smith’s College student

Lauren T., DOB 7/5/03- Paul Smith’s College student

Chelsea J., DOB 1/5/84- student at Paul Smith’s College

Lindsey R., DOB 2/6/05-2nd year student at Northeastern University

Mary G., DOB 8/23/84- a sophomore at Quinnipiac University

Amanda L., DOB 3/17/85, a sophomore at Quinnipiac University

Toni A. Marra, DOB 12/5/71, employed at Paul Smith’s College as the Director of Residence Life and have been in this position since July of 2004.

Richard S., DOB 4/28/85, student here at Paul Smith’s. This is my second year and I am currently the Resident Assistant for Alumni/Hillside Halls.

John O., DOB  7/15/85, Josh Rau and I have been roommates for the last four semesters at Paul Smith’s College  

George T., DOB5/19/82.,  student at Paul Smith’s College

JKS, DOB 6/5/78, campus Safety Officer at Paul Smith’s College.  I have been employed as a safety officer since October 2004.

Michael R., DOB 4/3/84, I am a junior/senior here at Paul Smith’s College.  This is my third year at school.  I live at 122 Livermore on campus.  I am a RA here ant Paul Smith’s. 

David H., DOB 3/5/84, student at Paul Smith’s.  I reside in Room 202 in Clinton Dorm.  My roommate is George T.

Zebulon J., DOB 4/7/84, student at Paul Smith’s college

Jessica C., 03/01/06, first year student at Paul Smith’s College

Bruce W. Sawyer, EMT-CC Tech for the Saranac Lake Fire Dept.

Note-all born after February 7, 1984 are younger than 21, the legal drinking age: 

 

Other Individuals Referenced:

Kristine Guest, DOB 6/24/84, a junior at Quinnipiac College in southern Connecticut

Joshua Rau, DOB 2/5/85, Paul Smith’s College student who lost his life along with Kristine

New York State Police Referenced

Investigator Lawyer, Supervisor

Investigator Weightman

Trooper Faugh

Trooper Brown

Trooper Tomaszewski

Trooper Spadaro

 

The statements below were provided by the noted witness to the State Police the day during the day of the tragic crash with some a few days later.   Statements also came from deposition testimony, college incident reports and press reports.   Statements from other than the police report are identified as to the source. The statements are arranged in chronological order to provide a clearer flow of events and demonstrate consistency of accounts.

 

January 29, 2005-Off campus fatal traffic accident:

Paul Smith’s student Stephen Welch died in a truck accident while returning from near by Saranac Lake. Stephen had been drinking alcohol before driving his Toyota pickup north on Route 86 near his college. Welch's truck veered off the road around 3 a.m. and struck a culvert and trees before overturning.  (From press reports.)

 

 

Paul Smith’s College-Friday night February 5, 2005:

JKS,” On 2/5/05 at approximately 12:00AM (Saturday morning) Campus Safety officer Norm Thibodeau contacted the NYS Police in reference to a suspected party congregating across Lower St Regis Lake.   Lower St Regis Lake is adjacent to Paul Smiths campus.  The State Police arrived at approx 12:45AM.  The trooper that I spoke to was Tpr. Brown.  I don’t remember Tpr. Brown’s partner.  Tpr. Brown searched the lake by using the spotlight on his care repeatedly.  Tpr. Brown searched the lake for approx 10 minutes.  When Tpr. Brown and his partner were searching the lake, no one was in sight.  After searching the lake Tpr. Brown told us (Campus Security) that if we observed any unsafe or illegal behavior that we should contact the State Police immediately.  At 1:00AM Norm Thibodeau and I noticed a red 2004 Chevy 5-10 enter lot six LMS dorm, plate number YPD 4208, PA Reg.  The vehicle pulled into lot six.  Norm Thibodeau and I walked over and spoke with the student.  The students name was Donald F. Kane.  Donald told me that he hand been out on the lake drinking a few beers.  As I stood near the vehicle I could smell alcohol.  I asked Donald how much he had consumed.  Donald stated 8-10 beers.  I asked Donald to turn the vehicle off and step out.  Toni Marra asked Donald for his keys and stated Campus Security would bring him home.  I asked Toni if she wanted me to call the State Police.  Toni instructed me not to do so.  Toni said it was not necessary to contact the State Police.” 

 

Toni A. Marra, “we had seen some students walk across the ice and were, like, what’s going on.  He kept doing donuts.  That doesn’t seem safe.  So we called safety.  Safety came over with me and the other staff member and the we decided, or I decided to contact the State Police because it didn’t appear safe to me to have that person doing donuts on the ice when people were walking on the ice.” “The State Police came and the vehicle was no longer on the ice at that point, was gone.  So the State Police said well there is nothing we can do, nobody is on the ice, so they left.  A couple of minutes after they had left this vehicle pulled to where we were in the parking lot, pulled in, and opened up the door to get out and beer cans fell out and the student was pretty intoxicated.  So at this point I said well, let’s take the keys because I didn’t want him driving any more.  Then safety and I brought him back to his room.”  (Deposition testimony.)

 

Campus Incident Report,-“The vehicle pulled into lot six, Norm Thibodeau (a safety officer) and I walked over and spoke with the student.  The student’s name is Donald K___.   I asked Donald if he had been out on the lake.  Donald stated he was over across the lake drinking a few beers near the bomb fire with friends.  As I stood near the vehicle speaking with Donald, a strong smell commonly associated with alcohol was apparent inside the vehicle.  I asked Donald how much had he consumed, Donald stated 8-10 beers….. Norm Thibodeau and I (JKS) were directed not to contact the State Police.”

 

(Note: that these events occurred a little over a week after a Paul Smith’s student died in a truck accident just off campus in an accident attributed to alcohol as noted above.)

 

 

Preparation for party-

Amanda L.-“A couple of days before I came down I talked to Josh on line about getting Peach Schnapps, Yaegar, Pineapple juice, beer, and vodka.  Josh never told me how he was going to get the liquor.  When we arrived at Paul Smith College at around 4:30PM on Saturday February 5, 2005 the liquor and beer were already in Josh’s room.”

 

Lindsey R.-“We had made plans earlier in the week to come and celebrate his birthday.  My friends and I don’t have any way to get alcoholic beverages.  When I was planning this with Joshua it was assumed he would get the alcohol, he had a way to get it.”

MJ2-“ A couple of days ago Josh was on the phone with Amanda and he stated he had alcohol for us.”   

 

John O.-“ Josh Rau and I have been roommates for the last four semesters at Paul Smiths College our room number is 105 Clinton Hall.  Yesterday was Josh’s birthday and he had planned a party for himself in our room.  He had invited four girls to come spend the weekend, two were high school friends and the other two were friends of theirs.  Josh had planned the party for sometime and had alcohol purchased for him.  In the past a older student named George who lives on the second floor of my dorm above me purchased us alcohol.  Josh had paid someone in our dorm to purchase alcohol to make a drink called “blonde sluts”.

Jessica C.-“ This past Friday, 2/4/05, John and I were walking to Clinton dorm.  John ran over to George (I don’t know his last name) and he asked him if he was on a beer run.  George replied “yes”, then John asked him to buy him a six pack of Sam Adams beer.  John gave George a ten dollar bill.  George left the parking lot in his blue truck.  About an hour or so later John came back to his room with a six pack of Sam Adams Winter Larger beer.  I was already in John’s room with John and other people.  When John left the room I thought he was going to the bathroom or something but I guess he was going to get the beer from George.”  “I know on the weekends Josh likes to drink a lot.” 

 

 

George T.-“I reside in room 202 in Clinton Dorm with my roommate David Hogenstein.  This past Thursday, February 3, 2004, a friend of mine, Joshua Rau, came to my room and asked me to buy him some liquor.  He told me he wanted vodka, peach pucker and Yeiger Meister for the weekend.  I know it was his 20th birthday that weekend but I don’t know if the liquor was for celebrating.  He had told me that his friends were coming up liked some kind of shots.  I don’t remember what they were called.  I told him I would and he gave me $60.  After classes I went by myself to get the liquor.  I bought it in a liquor store in Saranac Lake, NY.  I bought the liquor back to my dorm room and gave it to him in his room which is down stairs from mine.  I had brought alcohol three or four times before for Joshua.”

 

David H.-“ Sometime last week I overheard Josh ask George if he could buy him some liquor.  He asked for Smirnoff and named off other brands then gave George some money.  I believe it was $60.  George can be the one people go to for booze but he’s not the only one who’s in the dorms that 21.”

 

Zebulon J.-“ I know a guy by the name of “George.”  He lives next door to me in Clinton Dorm, in room 202.   On frequent occasions I have seen George come into the dorms with a couple of 30 packs of beer.  I don’t know of any specific times when George bought beer for anyone specific but I always assumed it was for someone else.  George has never bought beer for me but I know for a fact that I drank a beer or two that he bought.”

 

 

Preparation for party-bonfire

Zebulon J.-“ This past Saturday a party was held on the lake adjacent to the campus.  The lake is known as Upper St. Regis Lake.  Nobody in particular planned this party, it was just assumed.  There was a party the last two weekends also.  The first one was pretty small.  The second one got a little larger.  The third got to be quite large.  I got out on the ice at around 7:15PM.  I was one of three people that were the first out there.  We all began to prepare wood for the fire.  Throughout the night I kept the fire going and secured wood.  I drank socially but did not become intoxicated.  Later in the evening I did see Josh at the party as the crowd thinned out but I didn’t have any conversation with him.”

 

 

Michael R., “On 2/5/05 everyone knew there was going to be a big bon fire and party out on the ice.  The party stated just after dark.  The fire is built 50 to 75 yards from shore parallel to Franklin & Clinton dorms.”

 

Richard S.-“ Within the campus is Lower St. Regis Lake.  It is frozen for most of the winter.  Once the lake freezes, this year it wasn’t until after Christmas break, it is customary on Saturday nights for students to build a bon fire out on the lake.  Usually it is students from Clinton Dorm who will cut down trees and prepare for a bon fire.  Rumors will circulate throughout campus of the planned party for the night.  On Saturday, I heard around campus there was going to be a bon fire that night.  Those guys who are under 21 years of age usually find a friend over 21 to buy us alcohol.   On Friday night, I drove a friend of mine, who is over 21, to Ted’s Grocery to buy me some beer.  I had her get me a 30 pack of Busch.  I drank eight of them on Friday night and save the rest for Saturday night’s party.” “Ted’s Grocery, located in Gabrie  is on ST 86, is where students get beer from.  It is nicknamed Ted’s mall.  Someone will drive students who are over 21 or those that have their own fake ID’s will go on a beer run.  They do not sell any liquor, so if a student wants liquor, they have to go into Saranac Lake to get it.  I personally have never bought beer at Ted’s and as far as I know, they always card people.”

 

Richard S.-“Pretty much like we would bring all the wood out on the lake, and when it starts to die grab a few pieces of wood and through it on.  Whoever was next to the wood pile.”  “[The wood] comes from the sawmill, the slash pile that we have out back is meant for firewood.  The forestry cabin at Paul Smiths College, it’s from there.”

 

Christopher Hansen-“ I went home to visit parents on Martin Luther King weekend.  When I came back to campus,, I trailered my 1997 Yamaha V-Max, 6000cc with the intention of riding the snowmobile on weekends.  On Friday afternoon 2/4/05 I dropped my snowmobile on lake so I could ride this weekend.  I rode Friday afternoon to Upper St. Regis.  When I returned I left my snowmobile at the dock area.  Saturday morning 2/5/05 I rode for little while and parked it in the same area.”

 

Friends’ Arrival at Paul Smith’s

Lindsey R.-“Yesterday, Saturday 2/5/06, I came to Paul Smith’s College to visit a friend from high school Josh Rau.  I came up here with Amanda Leibersperger, Mary and Kristine (I don’t know their last names).  We left from Boston, MA. At around 10:30AM.  We got to Paul Smith’s at around 5:00PM.”

LR2-“I came to Paul Smiths yesterday, 2/5/05 to visit Joshua Rau, a friend of mine from high school.  I’ve known Joshua for six years or so.  I came here with Amanda Liebersperger, Mary and Kristine (I don’t know their last names.)”  “We got to Paul Smith’s at around 5:00PM and we spent the next hour and a half getting ready (taking showers) to go to Saranac Lake.  To this point we did not consume any alcoholic beverages.”

Mary G.-“ On 2/5/05 my friends and I came to Paul Smiths College to visit our friend Josh for his birthday on 2/5/05.   My friends, Kristen, Amanda, and Lindsay and I arrived at Paul Smiths College at approx 4:00PM on 2/5/05.   We drove up from Boston, MA. after picking up our friend Lindsay at Northeastern University.  After arriving at Paul Smiths College, we all took showers and got ready to go to Saranac Lake.”

MJ2-“ When we arrived we drove to Saranac Lake to see the Ice Palace.”

 

 

Saranac Lake Dinner and Fireworks

Jessica C.-“ This past Saturday, I returned to campus from work at approximately 2:30PM.  I stayed in my room, picking up and such, until about 4:00PM when my boyfriend John called me.  We made plans to go to dinner and see the ice castle in Saranac Lake.  We had planned to go to Little Italy for dinner.

At around 6:00PM we left campus for Saranac Lake.  By we I mean John Obryan, Kristin, Josh, Amanda, Kristine, MJ, Lindsey and myself.  John, Kristin and I rode in my car.  Josh, Kristine, Amanda, Lindsey and MJ rode in another car.  I do not know whose car it was.  Once in Saranac Lake we went to the ice castle then Josh called Little Italy to make reservations.  We went to Little Italy at about 6:45PM.  We waited a little before we sat down.  After sitting down John and I decided to go to Subway.  We went there and each had a sub after sitting there for about fifteen minutes.  From Subway we went to a parking lot and met the others then went back to campus.  I don’t believe anyone drank any alcoholic beverages up to this point.”

 

Lindsey R.-“ A bunch of us, including the three girls I came down with, and Josh and his friends went to Saranac Lake for the Winter Carnival.  Then we went to Little Italy for dinner.”

LR2-“We left for Saranac Lake to go to the Winter Carnival at about 6:30PM.  We took two cars:  Amanda, Mary, Kristine, Joshua and I were in Amanda’s car.  Kristen, Jake and Jessica were in Jessica’s car.  I don’t know a lot about these people because I had just met them.  After hanging out at the Winter Carnival we went to Little Italy to have dinner.  We ate pizza and drank water or soda at Little Italy.  We left Saranac Lake at about 8:45PM. We went directly back to campus.  We didn’t make any stops.  There was no drinking in the vehicle or in Saranac Lake.”

Mary G.-“ After arriving at Paul Smiths College, we all took showers and got ready to go to Saranac Lake.  We all went to Saranac Lake to eat dinner at Little Italy.  After dinner we watched the end of the fireworks.  Among our group were myself, Amanda, Kristen, Lindsay and Josh.  Nobody was drinking alcoholic beverages.  We arrived back at Paul Smiths College at about 8:00PM.”

Amanda L.-‘ At approximately 7:00, 7:30PM myself, Lindsay, Mary, Kristine Guest, Joshua Rau, Josh’s roommate John and his girlfriend Jessica went to Little Italy in Saranac Lake for dinner.   After dinner we went to the Ice Palace and left Saranac Lake at approximately 8:45PM and returned to the Clinton Dorm, Paul Smith College.”

 

Josh’s room/celebration

Amanda L.-‘ We all hung out in Joshua Rau’s room Clinton 105.   We didn’t start consuming alcohol until approximately 10:00PM.   When we got to the room, Josh made shots of Peach Schnapps, Jaegar, and pineapple juice.  We all had probably 5 shots, maybe 6 or 7.   There was beer in Josh’s refrig, but we didn’t drink any of the beer at this time.”

Lindsey R.-“ We got back to Paul Smith’s dorms at about 9:00PM.  We met some of Josh’s friends and hung out in Josh’s room for a while.  They had shots of peach schnapps and pineapple juice. They also had beer.  The alcohol was already in Josh’s room when I got there.  While we were in the room nobody was really intoxicated.”

LR2-“ Once back at Paul Smith’s we hung out in Josh’s room.  Josh had some beer in his refrigerator and liquor in his closet.  He had Molson (12 pk) and Ving Ling (6pk) beer and peach Schnapps and Jeigermeister.  He also hand Smirnoff 100 proof vodka.  There was nobody that wasn’t drinking.   We all did shots, we played the shot checkers game in the beginning.   After a few shots, I drank beer.  There was a point when Josh’s roommate John asked him where he got the booze.  I don’t know if he was referring to the beer or the liquor.   Anyway, I didn’t hear Josh’s response or if he responded at all to John.  I think Josh got the beer the day before or earlier that day, before we got there because Josh knows I like beer.   We never discussed where he got it from.”

Mary G.-“ We hung out in Josh’s room for about one hour.  We were playing checkers and drinking.  Everyone was drinking mixed drinks and beer.   All of the alcohol was in Josh’s room when we got there.  I don’t know who purchased the alcohol.” “I have no idea who Josh got the alcohol from or where he got if from.   The party was not one that one person supplied the drinks.  Everyone brought their own.”

MJ2-“ We arrived back at campus around 8PM and started playing checkers.  It was a drinking game.  Josh was making the shots.   We drank for about an hour and brought the rest of the mixed drinks to the party.   The mixed drinks were a plastic container.  I never saw Josh drink anyone else’s alcohol.”  “ In regards to the alcohol (Blonde Slut).  The alcohol was in Josh’s room when we arrived.  He kept it in his mini fridge.  He never stated who had brought it to his room.”  

 

John O.-“ At approximately 9:00PM we had his birthday party in our room.  Josh was mixing the drinks for everyone it was a great time.”

Jessica C.-“ We got back to campus at around 9:00PM.  Kristen went directly back to her room, the rest of us went directly to Josh’s room.  Once in Josh’s room Josh mad some mixed drinks from liquor he already had in his room.  He mixed Yieger, pineapple juice and what I think was rum.  He divided it up into shots.  We played a checkers game with the shots.  Instead of checker pieces they were using shot glasses with the drink Josh had made.  Other than John and I, the rest of them were drinking quite a lot.”

 

Loren B.-“ On 2/6/05, my friends and I were out on St. Regis Lake having a few beers.  There was about 15-20 of us hanging out at the bonfire on St. Regis Lake.  I joined the party at about 10:00PM on Saturday February 5th, 2005.  I stayed out on the lake until about 10:15PM.  At about 10:30PM, I went to my friend Josh Raul’s room.  Josh lives in Clinton Dorm Room #105.  I hung with Josh in his room for a little while, I’m not sure how long I was there.  I drank 5-6 beers when I was in Josh’s room.  I think Josh drank about ½ of a beer when I was in his room.  There was three girls hanging out with Josh and I in his room.  I don’t remember their names.  The three girls were friends of Josh’s from Pennsylvania.  They don’t go to college at Paul Smiths.  At about 11:30PM 2/5/05 “we all” went out to the bon fire.  Be “we all” I mean Josh, the three girls, and myself.  We were out on the lake all night.”

 

 

Bonfire Party to 12:30AM

Michael R., “I went out to the bon fire about 9:00 or 10:00PM.  I only stayed about 15 minutes.  There were at least 50 or 60 people and 15 to 20 snowmobiles.  I walked out by myself.  Beer cans were all over and I heard people breaking beer bottles in the fire.  People were all around.  Guys were being stupid on snowmobiles and I saw a couple of accidents where someone tried to turn the sled and rolled it.  No one was getting hurt that I saw.  I could tell something bad was going to happen so I left.

I went to a friend’s room and hung out for a while.  I had a few drinks that I brought with me.  The party started to get a little loud so I left.  The party was in Alumni Dorm. I left abut 12:30AM.  I walked back to my dorm room and dropped off some stuff, changed jackets and left.”

 

 

Chelsea J.-“ On Saturday night 2/5/05 I went out to a party on the lake.  There was a campfire on the ice.  When I arrived at about 11:00PM there were about 40-50 people there.  That number continued to decrease.” 

Christopher Hansen –“My friends and I ride snowmobiles on the lake.  We spent the night on the lake hanging out by the camp fire.  We would hang out by the fire and then ride around and meet back by the fire.”

CH2-“ I returned to the lake at around 9:30PM to go riding on the lake and then went back to the fire.  While at the fire I did not consume any alcohol.  Prior to going to the lake I had 1 Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  I was on the lake riding my snowmobile and hanging out at the fire until around 3:00AM.”

CH2-“ While at I was at the fire I noticed Josh drinking from an Analogy bottle.  I was not sure what was in the bottle.  It looked like a clear liquid.  At no time did I notice anyone on the lake using illegal drugs.” 

 

Robert R.-“ I saw people out on the lake at a camp fire so decided to join them.  I rode my snowmobile out at about 10:00PM.”

Richard S.-“ On Saturday night at about 10:30-11:00PM I brought 22 cans of Busch beer down to the lake.   At that time there were about 50-75 people around the fire and on the lake.  Some of the students had snowmobiles there.  I have provided a list of names of students who were on the lake at this party to Inv. Labrake of the State Police.”

 

David H.-“ Saturday, 2/5/05, at around 10:30PM-11:00PM I went out to a party and bon fire on the lake next to campus.  The lake is Lower St. Regis Lake.  I went to the party with my girl friend, Beth. I don’t know her last name, I just started dating her a week ago.  When we were out there forty or 50 people were there partying.  As the night progressed more people showed up at the party.  Except for the girls Josh had with him, I don’t know of anyone that was not a student of Paul Smith’s.  Most everyone was drinking beer.  I didn’t see any liquor, but I wouldn’t put it past them to have liquor on them.  I brought Bud Light from my room.  It’s beer that my roommate George had.  That night George didn’t specifically buy the Bud Light for me.  He just had it in our room.  George has brought beer for me before.  He’s never bought me liquor.  I don’t drink liquor, its not for me.  The last time George specifically bought me beer was the beginning of the semester.  I haven’t hand much money.

At the party on the lake, I didn’t see anyone smoking marijuana or using any drugs.  There were 5 or 6 people driving snowmobiles on the ice including myself.”

DH-“ As I was at the party around the bon fire I did see Joshua Rau and his friends from Pennsylvania.   At one point he asked me if he could use my sled.  I took into consideration the fact that Josh had been drinking and the fact that it was extremely foggy and did not allow him to take my sled.  In my opinion Josh was intoxicated.  After I left the bon fire at around 2:15AM I did not see Josh.”

 

Jessica C.-“ At around 10:00PM John and I left Josh’s room.  I was really bored and I didn’t want John to continue to drink.  I knew they were going to start pouring it hard, its not uncommon for Josh.  I know on the weekends Josh likes to drink a lot.  We went back to my room and got a blanket then went out to the party around the fire.   We were only out there for ten or fifteen minutes.  There was a lot of drinking and standing around.  I did not see anyone using any type of drugs, just alcohol.  As we were going back toward my dorm I saw Josh and the girls headed towards the party.  John and I went to my room.  I went to bed.  John stayed up and watched TV.  He went to bed around midnight.

 

 

Amanda L.-“ We went to the fire at around 11:00-11:30PM.  We had 4 bottles that we brought with us.  One was Sprite and vodka in a Molson bottle, second Dr. Pepper and vodka in a Dr. Pepper bottle, third was Peach Schnapps, Jaecar and pineapple juice in a water bottle.  The forth bottle I’m not sure what was in it.  Was in a small Molson bottle.  We didn’t drink a lot of this because it was mixed strong.  Josh was sipping on it so we could add more soda to the drink.  Throughout the night myself, Lindsay, Mary, Kristine, and Josh went back to the dorm 4 or 5 times.  Each time Lindsay, Mary and Josh took beer from Josh’s room and went back to the fire.  Myself and Kristine don’t like beer so we didn’t take any.”  “While at the fire myself and Kristine had a drink of Jack Daniels and coke from an unknown person at the fire.   At no time did anyone in our group do any illegal drugs.”

 

Mary G.-“ At about 10:00PM everyone went to the party by the bon fire on the lake.  We were out on the lake until about 3:30AM.  Several people were giving snowmobile rides while we were hanging out by the bon fire.  At one point there was about 40-50 people at the party. “

 

Lindsey R.-“ We left the room at about 11:30PM and went out to the bon fire on the lake where there was a party going on.  We were standing around the fire drinking.  Some people were giving snowmobile rides to others.  Initially, they were making sure that whoever was driving the snowmobiles was sober.”

LR2-“ We hung out in Josh’s room until about 11:30PM.  Then we went to the lake where there was a party and a bon fire.  The party wasn’t for Josh’s birthday.   I guess they had a similar party last week only not as many people showed up.  I brought beer to the bonfire.  It was in my coat.  Some of the guys had vodka and Sprite in “Nolgene” (water) bottles.  When we needed another drink we would walk back to Josh’s room and get more.  There were no kegs of beer.  It seemed that everyone had there own.  There was one time a guy by the name of George gave me a can of Bud Light beer.  I didn’t see Josh or Kristine get any alcoholic beverage from anywhere other than Josh’s room.”  

 

John O.-“ My girlfriend and I lefty my room and went to a party on Lower St. Regis Lake in front of the campus there was a fire and a bunch of snowmobiles.  There was approximately 50 people on the lake.  Ten minutes later we left and headed for my girlfriends dorm, along the way we passed Josh and the girls they were heading to the lake party.”  “When I was with Josh that night he did not appear drunk however.  Lauren one of my friends said he was drunk.”

 

Loren B. –“On 2/6/05, my friends and I were out on St. Regis Lake having a few beers.  There was about 15-20 of us hanging out at the bonfire on St. Regis Lake.  I joined the party at about 10:00PM on Saturday February 5th, 2005.  I stayed out on the lake until about 10:15PM.  At about 10:30PM, I went to my friend Josh Raul’s room.  Josh lives in Clinton Dorm Room #105.  I hung with Josh in his room for a little while, I’m not sure how long I was there.  I drank 5-6 beers when I was in Josh’s room.  I think Josh drank about ½ of a beer when I was in his room.  There was three girls hanging out with Josh and I in his room.  I don’t remember their names.  The three girls were friends of Josh’s from Pennsylvania.  They don’t go to college at Paul Smiths.  At about 11:30PM 2/5/05 “we all” went out to the bon fire.  Be “we all” I mean Josh, the three girls, and myself.  We were out on the lake all night.”

 

Richard S.-“ Josh Rau is a good friend of mine.  He was already at the party when I got there.  I met two of his friends (females) who were here visiting from Pennsylvania.  In know two more were also here, but I didn’t meet them.  Josh had a Naigene bottle containing vodka.  He told me it was vodka.  I didn’t drink out of it.  Everyone brings their own alcohol to these parties.  I don’t know who brought the vodka for Josh, but I know he probably had some in his room.  I saw him drinking from his bottle.  I drank about 15 of the beers I brought and gave the rest away to other people there.

I know there were people smoking marihuana.  Neither Josh nor I smoke marihuana.  I know Josh pretty well and I’ve never seen him smoke it.  It’s normally the same crowd of people at these parties smoking marihuana. 

Throughout the party, people were riding around the lake on the snowmobiles.  This is normal for the parties on the lake.  I did not see Josh on a snowmobile at all. 

Around 1:30-2:00AM, I briefly spoke w/ Josh about everyday things.  In my opinion Josh was intoxicated then.  I know Josh well and have seen him intoxicated before.  A short time latter, I looked for Josh and someone said he had already left the party.  I assumed he went to bed for the night.  At this time, I would say only 10-25 people were left.”

 

Zebulon J.-“ I’d like to add that the party was the type you bring your own beer to.  There was no keg or any other large quantity of alcoholic beverages at the party.  Everyone just brought their own.”

 

 

George T.-“ Last night I came back to my dorm from the mall I Plattsburgh at about 10:00PM.  I had heard about a party that was taking place out on the lake.  Last week they had a similar party.  About 11:30PM I went out the lake and hung out at the party.  I was drinking Bud Light and Jack Daniels that I had bought for myself.”

 

David H.(Deposition)-“Because it was getting really bad and we already had one accident already that night. Earlier in the night somebody cracked a sled up on a tree.”  “I don’t know his name exactly.  I know his nickname is Maverick.”  “The accident wasn’t that bad.  It just like a cracked cowl and stuff.  The hood of the sled, it was just a cracked cowl.”

 

 

Bonfire-T. Marra visit

Toni A. Marra-“ This past week, from 1/31 to today 2/6, I have been the director on call.  Last night at approx.  12 1:30AM  I heard a phone call through my portable radio regarding a noise complaint at Alumni Dorm.   I started to go to Alumni Dorm to check on the complaint.  Prior to getting to Alumni, I heard a report over the portable radio of someone possibly hurt on the lake.  I continued to Alumni and spoke with Mike Roberts, a Resident Assistant for Livermore Dorm.  He informed me someone called him and reported an injury on the lake.   He didn’t say who called him or what the possible injury was.  I left Alumni dorm with Safety Officer JKS and we drove down to the lake.  I walked a little ways onto the ice.  There was a bon fire with approximately 50-75 people out there.  Two snowmobiles approached me and stopped.   One of them I believe was Ray Gallman.  I asked him if anyone was hurt and inquired as to what was going on.  He told me no one was hurt, everything was fine.   Another student, I believe was Ted Flandereau told me that the bon fire was burning out and the people were leaving.  I explained they were kind of loud and need to leave, to wrap it up.  I was assured by the people I spoke with that things were done and people were leaving the lake.”

 

Toni A. Marra (Deposition)-“First I asked them if anyone was hurt.  I said, “We got a call.  Is someone hurt?’ And seeing that they were on snowmobiles, if figured if somebody was hurt on a snowmobile they would know.”

 

JKS, “I am now speaking to Trooper Brown about an incident that occurred on Sunday February 6, 2005.  On 2/6/05 at approx 12:30AM I responded to the Alumni Dorm in reference to a loud noise complaint.  While I was at the loud noise complaint, a Paul Smiths student named Michael R. approached me.  Mike was on his cell phone.  While Mike was on his cell phone he told me that an accident might of occurred on the lake.  Mike continued to talk on his cell phone and then told me to never mind, everything was OK.  After Mike told me that someone might me hurt, I went and picked up my supervisor Toni Marra.  Toni and I went down to the lake where there was a party going on around a bon fire.  There was approx 45 college students standing around the fire.  As we were walking towards the bon fire, Toni told me that we were not going to write anyone up because it would cause a riot.  When we got to the party we started interviewing people to find out if there was an accident.  Everyone that I talked to told me that everything was alright.  No one gave me a reason to believe otherwise.  While I was at the party I noticed that there was approx 7-8 snowmobiles driving around the lake.  There was a lot of commotion, yelling and drunk students.  Toni and I stayed at the party for approx 15 minutes.  Before we left the party, we advised the students to be safe, keep the speed down, and call us if there was any problems.  Toni did not tell to go home and advised me not to take any disciplinary actions as it would cause a riot.  Toni went back to her room and I resumed routine patrol of the campus.”

 

JKS(Deposition)-“A very big fire.  Approximately forty to 45 students standing around it.  Snow sleds were traveling at high rates of speed.  There was a lot of yelling and screaming.  However, I did not see one container of alcohol.”  “A few of the students standing around the fire appeared to be little bit tipped, a little bit too happy.” “Basically, balance, their balance seemed off.  They were weaving back and forth, acting abnormal.,  Screaming and yelling.  A few of the students that I spoke to, their eyes seemed to be bloodshot.”

“I was told specifically [by T. Marra] before I went out on the lake, we were not going to ID them, were not going to write them up, because it would cause a riot.”  “I was extremely upset, very irritating.  I felt that I had enough experience to make a good decision, and I felt that I knew what actions needed to be taken to possible prevent the situation that occurred, and my authority was always undermined, it seemed.”  “I mentioned to her there was a few students that I spoke to I could smell an odor associated with alcohol; erratic snowmobiles riding fast, high speeds.  This was a dangerous situation.  We need to stop it now.”  “She [Marra] said, ‘From my experience, I’ve worked a lot longer, I’ve dealt with experience with respect to this and the last thing you want to do is create a riot.”

 

Richard S.-“ At about 12:00-12:30AM, Toni Marra, the RD and J.K.S., Campus Safety, came down to the lake.  She and James said they heard someone had been hurt on the lake.  Dave Baransky and I informed them everyone was OK.  Toni basically said to keep the noise down and to be safe.  She said to call her if anything happened.  Toni didn’t tell me to leave the ice.  I don’t know if she said it to anyone else.  I didn’t hear her tell Dave to leave either.” “Toni and James were the only campus personnel who came to the lake.  While we were partying, to my knowledge, they did not tell anyone to leave.”

 

Michael R., “It was now about 12:45AM.  I walked out toward the lake on the way there I saw Toni Marra and JKS walking to the van.  Toni is my boss and James is a campus Safety Officer.  There were out on the ice but I don’t know what they did out there. 

I walked out on the ice and got about 25 yards from the fire.  There were between 80 & 100 people standing around the fire.  A couple of people threw cups of gasoline in the fire.  There was a lot of alcohol there too.  12 to 15 snowmobiles were riding around.

I later learned Toni & James were out there because they received a report of an accident on the ice.  I started to get sick because of the gas smell so I left and walked back to my room.  I went to sleep about 2:20AM.  I learned about the accident the next day when I woke up. It was between 1:00 & 2:00PM on 2/6/05.”

MR-“I thought the proper action were taken after I saw Toni & James coming from the party.  I expected the State Police to show up and shut the party down, but that didn’t happen.  Toni and James get paid to protect the student here at Paul Smith’s and it is there job to bust parties.  They had all the elements of a bad situation that night and nothing was done to prevent it.  Maybe if the Police had been called the accident might not have happened.  I can’t think of anything else to add at this time.  Everything in this deposition is true to the best of my knowledge.  I could also smell the order of pot throughout the night!  I did not see anyone smoking it. I just could smell it.” 

 

Zebulon J.-“ Earlier that night during the party, sometime before midnight, Tonni, Head of Student Activities, came over to the party.  There was a campus Safety Officer.  When I saw her coming over I made myself present for the conversation.  She said she had heard someone got hurt on a sled.  A couple people assured her that no one had been hurt.  She also was making sure all the beer cans were cleaned up and the trash was taken care of.  She never asked anyone to leave the party and never made any objections to the party.  She said something like, make sure everyone is safe.”

 

Bonfire-Reaction to T. Marra’s visit & Fog

Toni A. Marra-“ Within five minutes of me leaving the lake, it was quiet down there.  By this I mean, I could no longer hear any snowmobiles.  From my dorm, I can hear snowmobiles on the lake.  When I left to answer the noise complaint at Alumni, I could hear them (snowmobiles) on the lake.  After telling them to wrap it up and returning to my dorm, I couldn’t hear anything.   I don’t know if everyone actually left the ice or not.  I signed off my portable radio at approx. 2:15AM and went to bed.  I didn’t hear anything else the remainder of the night.” “I recognized students on the lake last night, but I don’t know names.” “It was dark and hard to see faces.”

 

Lindsey R.-“ At around 1:00AM or so, they stopped giving rides because it was foggy.  We all just hung around the fire at that point.  At his point Josh was pretty intoxicated, on a scale of one to ten, I’d say he was about a seven.  Its hard for me to say because I was drunk too.  At around 3:00AM we came back into the dorms and hung out until about 4:30AM.”

 

Richard S.-“ Around 2:45AM, I left the party.  There were about 15 there when I left.  I went back to my dorm and went to bed.”

 

David H.-“ There came a point where it was extremely foggy and visibility was limited driving the sleds.  My friend Ben and I talked to the RA (Al) and told him we didn’t think it was a good idea for people to be riding sleds since it was so foggy.  Ben, Al and I started telling people to stop riding the sleds and eventually they did.  They’d only be used to give people rides from the fire to the dock if they needed one.  We hung out at the party until about 2:15AM and my girlfriend and I went to my dorm room and went to bed.  After a little while my girlfriend went back to her room and went to bed.”

 

 

Josh’s room-3 to 4:30AM

Lindsey R. -“Before we took the rides on the snowmobile with Josh, we were getting ready for bed so we had our pajamas on when we went out to watch the sunrise.  Riding on the snowmobile was kind of a spur of the moment thing.”

LR2-“ At about 3:00AM., the group of us, including George went back to Josh’s room.  We ate left over pizza.  I had another beer.  George had a beer also.  I don’t think anyone else had anymore to drink.  Josh was pretty drunk.  Kristine didn’t seem as drunk.  We continued to hang out in Josh’s room while people were in and out.  We got ready for bed so we put our pajamas on.  Before we went to bed we decided to go back out by the bon fire and watch the sunrise.”

Mary G.-“ At about 3:30AM, myself, Amanda, Kristen, Lindsay and Josh went inside the Clinton dorm to warm up.  At about 4:30AM we all went back outside to watch the sunrise.”

MJ2-“ I went back to his room at 3:45AM.”

Amanda L.-“ At around 3:00AM we all went back to Josh’s room and hung out until around 4:30AM.  In this time Lindsey and Tristain, George and Jessica had a beer.  Tristain, George and Jessica showed up at Josh’s room after we returned from the fire.  Around 4:30AM myself, Lindsay, Mary, Kristine, Tristain, George, and Josh went back to the fire to see the sunrise.”

CD2-“ I was on the lake riding my snowmobile and hanging out at the fire until around 3:00AM when I went into Clinton Dorm, Josh’s room to have some food which Josh had in his room.  I hung out in Josh’s room until 4:00-4:30AM and I left Josh’s room back to the fire.  Josh and his friends arrived a short while later. At this time I still did not consume any alcohol.”

George T.-“ Early in the morning I was in Josh’s room, they were eating pizza.  I mentioned going out by the fire and watching the sun rise.  Josh, MJ, and the rest of Josh’s friends went out by the fire.” 

 

Rides at 4:30AM

Christopher Hansen-“ Shortly after Josh returning to the lake, Josh asked me if he could take the girls for a ride with my snowmobile around the fire.   I told Josh he could take my snowmobile.  At no time did I think Josh was in an intoxicated condition which I thought would impair his ability. Josh brought 4 female friends for a ride on the lake.  The first 3 girls went for short rides, maybe 5 minutes.  Josh took the 4th girl for a ride.  At this time the fog on the lake was heavy.  At first we could hear the snowmobile on the lake and then we couldn’t hear him any more.  My first though was the snowmobile stalled or ran out of gas.   A few minutes passed.  2 snowmobiles went out looking for Josh and his rider.  I was one of the people looking.”

 

Lindsey R. -“We decided to go back outside and watch the sunrise.  So we went back out by the fire.  Josh borrowed a snowmobile from someone and gave me a ride around the fire, not very far.  Then he gave Amanda a ride around the fire also.  At this point it wasn’t foggy like it was at 1:00AM.   You could see for a pretty good distance.  Josh also took Kristine for a ride.   She didn’t go for a ride earlier in the evening like the rest of us so Josh may have given her a longer ride.  They were gone for about a ½ hour and we began to worry about Josh & Kristine.  You couldn’t see lights anymore and couldn’t see them.”

LR2-“ Soon after we got out there Josh had borrowed somebody’s snowmobile.   He gave me a ride first.  We didn’t have helmets on.  At one point during my ride Josh was going too fast.  I remember this because I was really cold.  My cheeks are red from being wind burnt right now.   After my ride Josh gave Amanda a ride.   When they came back Amanda told me that she almost fell off.  Kristine went on the snowmobile next.  They were gone for about twenty to thirty minutes.  Then we became worried.  We thought something may have happened.” 

Mary G.-“ When we got back on the lake Josh took Amanda and Lindsay for a snowmobile ride.  Amanda and Lindsay each went for a ride separately. The rides were short.  Josh took each of them for a ride around the bon fire.  At this point I went for a ride with another snowmobiler.  I don’t remember his name.   When I returned from my ride, I discovered that Josh and Kristen went for a snowmobile ride across the lake.  Josh and Kristen were gone for approx 15-20 minutes before several other snowmobilers went to look for them.  When they did not return I was very worried that something was wrong.   I talked to Josh about 5 minutes before he took Kristen for the snowmobile ride.   In my opinion, he was not intoxicated.”

MJ2-“ Just before 5:00AM we went back to the lake.  Josh, Lindsay, Amanda, Truker and Kristine to watch the sun rise.”

 

Amanda L.-“ We hung out at the fire until Josh borrowed a snowmobile and brought myself, Lindsay and Kristine for a ride on the lake and after about 15 mins they hadn’t returned so people went out searching for Kristine and Josh.”

Lauren T.-“ On 2/6/05 at approx 4:00AM I was at a party on St. Regis Lake.  There was about 10 people at standing around the bon fire on St. Regis Lake.  At about 4:30AM my friend Josh decided to take his friend for a snowmobile ride.  Josh and his friend Christine got on Chris Hansen’s snowmobile and started driving towards Pete’s Rock.  I noticed that they were not wearing helmets.  I talked to Josh minutes before he and Christine went for the snowmobile ride.  In my opinion Josh was intoxicated.  About 20-30 minutes went by before we all started to worry. We all knew that Josh was not an avid snowmobiler.”

 

David  B-“  Chris said yes.  Josh and his girlfriend got on and started off shortly.  Neither of them were wearing helmets.  They headed off towards Pete’s Rock, a outcropping in the lake.  They were the only sled moving at this time.  They were gone for about an hour.  We thought they could have broke down.”

 

Chelsea J.-“ Between 3-4AM there were six to 8 of us on the ice and Josh was giving people short rides on Chris’s snowmobile.  He took the first two girls just down and back. These girls were with Josh but do not go to school here.  We were all drinking.  I brought out some beer.  Everyone brought out their own stuff.  Josh then had Christine get on and gave her a ride.  We did not hear anything out of the ordinary.  They were gone for 10-15 min and those girls became worried because their rides lasted less than 5 min.”

 

Loren B.-“ There came a time in the early morning hours of 2/6/05 when Josh and his friend Christine decided to take a snowmobile ride.  I believe that Christine is one of Josh’s friends from Pennsylvania.  I’m not sure what time it was when Josh and Christine went for the snowmobile ride.  If I had to take a guess I would say it was about 3:30AM when Josh and Christine went for the snowmobile ride.  I don’t know who’s snowmobile they were on, but I do know that Josh was driving.  I saw them leave, and I noticed that they were not wearing any helmets.  They headed out across the lake.  They kept going until they went out of sight.  Josh and Christine were gone for about 45-60 minutes before everyone at the party started to worry.”

 

George T.-“ I was talking to people and the first time I knew Josh was gone was when two friends came up to me and asked me where Josh was.  I said I don’t know.  They said that he took the sled out.  I told them that they might of went around the point or something.”

 

Search for Kristine & Joshua

Lindsey R.-“ Amanda and I told some other people with snowmobiles to go look for them.  They were gone for about 5-10 minutes the first time.  One snowmobile with two people on it.   A second snowmobile went with them the second time.  About 15 mins later one of the snowmobiles came back and they said they found them.  They just said that the snowmobile was totaled.  They were reluctant to tell us about Josh & Kristine.  Finally, they said they found Josh on the ice and he wasn’t moving, and it didn’t look good.   After I heard this I came into the dorms.  While later someone in the dorm and said that Josh and Kristine didn’t make it.”

LR2-“ At first one guy with a girl on the back of his snowmobile went to look for Josh and Kristine.  I don’t think they found them because when they returned 5-10 minutes of so latter another snowmobile went with them to look.  Twenty minutes or so later one of the people on the snowmobile returned and told us to leave.  They said they found the snowmobile and it was totaled.  They said it didn’t look good.  From there I went back to Josh’s room.  I found out they had died about 45 minutes later when a student, I think it was Chris, came in the dorm and told me.”

 

Mary G.-“ The first snowmobiler that went to look for Josh and Kristen did not have any luck finding them.  After the first snowmobiler returned, two more snowmobilers went to look for Josh and Kristen.  About 20 minutes later one snowmobiler came back.  I don’t know his name.   He told everyone that they found the snowmobile.  He said that the snowmobile was totaled and Josh and Kristen were laying on the ground.  He said they weren’t moving.  At that time someone called 911.   I also used my cell phone to call 911.   They told me that someone already called and help was on the way.  When I was on the phone someone took the phone away from me and gave more details to 911 personell.  At this point I went back inside to wait.”

 

Amanda L.-“ The first time a guy and a girl went around the lake searching and came back without finding them.   The three people on two snowmobiles went out looking.   The guy who was by himself came back without success.   The second snowmobile which was ridden by two guys came back after finding Kristine and Josh.   The two guys told us the snowmobile was totaled and Kristine and Josh weren’t moving.   We all became upset and went back to the dorm.  Except four guys on two snowmobiles went to confirm what was said.  The four guys who went to confirm what was said I believe called 911.   Mary also called 911 from the fire, at what I think was 5:30PM.”

 

 

Lauren T. -“At this time Bob, Dave and Chris Hanson got on snowmobiles and went looking for Josh and Christine.   About 10 minutes later, Bob Dave, and Chris came back to the bon fire and told us to go back to our rooms and call 911.  Bob and Dave then went back onto the Lake where Josh and Christine were.  I went back into Clinton Dorm.  After a little while, Bob came back and told me that Josh was dead.  Rescue personell showed up about 20-30 minute after the call was made to 911.”

 

Chelsea J.-“ I got on with Zeb and rode around the lake to look for them.  We came back   Then Chris went on one sled and Dave & Bob went on one and went off in different directions.  I went towards shore to use the bathroom.  As I came back towards the campfire I was met by the group.  They said to turn around and go home.  Someone must be dead, don’t go over there.  We went to the boat launch and waited for the ambulance.”

 

George T.-“ Some people went out to look for them and I stayed with the people by the fire.  Then someone came back and said they had found them.  Chris Hansen and I went over to where they were and he called 911.  I didn’t check for their pulse or anything I was in shock.  I saw the bodies in the moon light but I didn’t get close.  After I returned I went to my room.  I walked the girls back.”

 

David  B-:” Chris went out on Bob’s sled and I took mine each in different directions to look for them.  Chris found his sled and came back and said come with me, you have to see this.  Chris and I went back out and this time we found Josh.  He was on the ice on the other side of the rock from the sled.  It appeared that they hit the rock, got thrown off and the sled hit the lean to.  Josh was on his back with his coat was lifted up over his head.  I pulled on his coat a little and did not see his head.  I saw a lot of blood.  We went back to the campfire.  We did not find the girl.  We got Bob to come back with us.  I stayed at the fire.  Bob went out and came back.  We both went back after we woke up Mary and again called 911.  I called campus safety.  This time we found the girl.  She was on the rock just into the woods.  She was on her face in the snow, her body was twisted.  I did not see blood.  Bob checked for a pulse and then I did.  I did not feel a pulse.  She looked dead.  You could tell she was not alive.”

 

Robert R.-“ Toward morning, maybe 4:00 4:30 I overheard some say they were not back yet.  This was the first I heard about anything.  Dave went out on his sled and came back a few minutes later and said don’t go over there.  I took Dave’s sled and went out there.  I pulled onto Pete’s Rock.  I saw a man lying on the ice on the other side of the rock on his stomach with his coat pulled up over his head.  I rolled him over, pushed his coat up.  I saw blood on his face.  I did not see blood on the snow but when I stood up I had blood on my pants & boots.  His eyes were open.  He did not feel warm or cold.  His body temp was lower than normal.  I did not feel a pulse.  I held my finger to his neck and felt nothing.  I went back to the fire.  I told everyone to go home.  Chris, the kid who owned the sled, was on his phone with 911.  I did not hear sirens after EMS arrived.  Dave and I went out on my sled to Pete’s Rock.  We found the girl.  She was between where we found the boy and the lean to.  She was on her back.  She only had a sweatshirt and jeans on.  She had no pulse.  She was not as bloody.  Very little blood compared to the male rider.  We went back to shore and told the rescuers.  One of the EMS people took my sled out.  I did not pay attention to Josh before the accident so I don’t know how much he had to drink.  I had about 5 beers.”

 

Christopher Hansen-“ Another student I only know as Josh took my sled for a ride.  He took a female friend of his with him and the headed off alone.  I remained by the fire as he went of sight.  My snowmobile is a 1997 Yamaha Con BL NY:1727FF.  Registered to my father. Robert went looking for them when he did not return.  This was a short time after they left somewhere after about 10 min.  You can usually hear the engine on the lake but we could not hear them anymore.  Robert went off on his sled to look for them.  Robert returned and said he found them and tack out to Josh with Dave.  Everyone else came to shore.  Robert really did not say anything, but I got the impression it wasn’t good.  I used my cell phone to call 911.”

CH2-“ I was one of the people looking.  I came upon Pete’s Rock.  I saw the snowmobile from a distance on its side.  I rode up to Pete’s Rock and there was the snowmobile.  At this time I rode back to the camp fire and got another person and snowmobile to go back out to Pete’s Rock.  When we arrived at Pete’s Rock we saw Josh face first, in the snow, on the other side of Rock.  The other rider with me was Robert.  At this time I called 911 from my cell phone which I was carrying and advised 911 of our location and incident.  Robert turned Josh over and checked for a pulse, while I was on top of the Rock.  While I was on top of the rock, I noticed Josh’s rider lying on her back   At this myself and Robert went back to shore to wait for rescue.  Once on shore I called 911 again because I didn’t hear sirens or anything.  911 advised me that Rescue was enroute.  Shortly after the call, we ran up to road the lead rescue in.  Rescue took the scene from here.  I informed Rescue what they had.”

 

Loren B. -“Several people at the party jumped on their snowmobiles and headed out on the lake to look for Josh and Christine.  Among the people that went looking for Josh and Christine, David Baransky was the only person that I know.  Eventually, the people that went looking for Josh and Christine came back to the bon fire and told everyone that Josh and Christine had been in an bad snowmobile accident.  I’m not sure who, but someone told us that Josh and Christine were both dead.  Someone used a cell phone to call 911.  I was so upset that I don’t remember who made the phone call.  I do remember that it was a girl.  I took the phone away from the girl.  I told rescue what had happened.  Rescue arrived shortly after.”

 

Zebulon J.-“ Later that morning when the accident happened I did not see Josh leave with the sled.  I realized something had happened when a friend of mine, Bob Ripp, took off on his sled and headed towards Peter’s Rock.  Bob came back and he was extremely white and his cheeks were quivering.   He had blood on his knee.  He immediately told someone to call the police and told everyone to get off the ice.  There was a serious accident.  I remained on the ice and tried to get the fire to die down.  I was in a state of shock.  From the fire I went to shore.  I did not go to Peter’s Rock.”

 

 

Bruce W. Sawyer- EMT-CC Tech for the Saranac Lake Fire Dept.-“ I arrived ant the campus of Paul Smiths College at approximately 6:00AM on today’s date.  I borrowed a sled from a student and proceeded to the scene.  I arrived at the scene at 6:10AM.  I saw the damage sled on what’s known as Peters Rock.  I knew there was an accident with two possible fatalities as reported by Fire Control and began looking for them right away.  I spotted the female first on her back near the lean-to.  I could tell from the massive head trauma that she was deceased.   I then found the male subject down by the shore.  I checked for the carpotid pulse in the male with neg. results.  There was also blunt force trauma to the male.  I then secured the scene for the State Police which arrived approximately 35 minutes later.”

 

Aftermath

Toni A. Marra-“ At about 5:50AM this morning I was advised of the accident on the lake.” 

 

J.K.S., “At approx 6:20AM I received an anonymous call from a male individual.  He had a deep voice and sounded very stressed.   He told me to call an ambulance and come to the lake immediately.  It was at that time that I discovered that Josh Rau and Kristen Guest had been killed in an snowmobile accident on Lower St Regis Lake.”

 

NY State Police Investigator Weightman (Police Report)-“Lower Saint Regis Lake is adjacent to Paul Smith’s Campus and was completely frozen.  A boat dock, which is visible from a number of dormitories, provides access to the lake from the campus.  Upon arrival at the scene a smoldering fire was present a short distance from the dock on the ice.  Numerous beer bottles and cans were present on the ground around the fire.  Several snowmobiles were parked on the lake in close proximity to the dock and fire.  The remains of another fire was a short distance from the smoldering fire.”

 

 

Michael R., “I knew of Josh Rau but did not know him as a friend.  I just saw him around campus.  I didn’t know Kristine Guest at all.  I didn’t see or speak to Joshua Rau at the party.  I don’t know if Kristine Guest was drinking.  I have no idea how or from who Joshua Rau got alcohol.  I heard he was driving the snowmobile when he and Kristine crashed into Peter’s Rock”      

 

John O.-“ We stayed in her room all night and at approximately 6:30AM my friend Jake Gnann told me to come to his room as soon as possible.  When we arrived there he told me Josh was dead.  We then waited in the hall to be interviewed, however I was not interviewed and decided to got to Tupper Lake with Jake to get away from the school because of the stress of being there.”  “I give my consent to search my room 105 Clinton.”

 

Jessica C.-“ Last night, when John and I got back from staying in Tupper Lake, John went to the security office to go see about getting his room back.  He got his room keys back then we went to his room.  We wanted to get all the alcohol out of the room.  In the bottom drawer of Josh’s desk we found an empty bottle of Jeiger, a large bottle of vodka, it was almost gone, a smaller bottle spiced rum, a bottle of peach schnapps with only a few drops left in it and some empty beer cans which were on the floor.  In the closet that they share I found two twelve packs of Ying Ling beer, a few bottles were missing.

 

 

George T.-“ I am so sorry for this.  I wish it was me instead of them.  I’d do anything to get them back.  I was just trying to do a friend a favor.  It was his birthday.”

 

State Police Report-“The results of the toxicology analysis which was completed by National Medical Services indicates RAU had 113 mg/dl of alcohol or .113% blood alcohol content.”

 

State Police Report-“The toxicology analysis which was completed by Adirondack Medical Center Indicates GUEST had less than 10mg/dl of alcohol in her blood.”

 

State Police Report-“The results of this investigation indicate that the cause of the collision is attributed to RAU operating the snowmobile at a speed too fast for visibility conditions.  The fog and/or smoke, as well as RAU not wearing a helmet or goggles while operating the snowmobile in below freezing conditions in darkness and while under the influence of alcohol, caused RAU to unknowingly strike Peter’s Rock resulting in his and GUEST’s death.”

 

On May 4, 2007, many students were using boats to join a party across a lake from campus grounds. Two boats capsized with six students tossed into frigid waters, four made it safely to campus, but two underage, intoxicated students drowned.  While the two who drowned paid the ultimate price, all students rowing to the party were at risk.  The college was Paul Smith’s College, the lake was Lower St. Regis Lake, and the party was around the reconstructed lean-to on Peter’s Rock.  (Information from various press reports.)

 

“According to reports posted on the Paul Smith's Web site, the young men were going out to an island in the lake to make a bonfire in celebration of their last day of classes. They took two canoes out on the frigid lake to reach the island, but the two boats capsized about 100 yards away from the shore.”  Bennington Banner Article Launched:05/08/2007 03:03:31 AM EDT

 

John Mills-from an interview reported on North Country Public Radio in June 2007: “You know when a student is 18 years old, they are considered an adult in many, many ways in this country, including being able to go die for this country.  Yet when it comes to a college we hear we have to be in loco parentis .  How do you balance that? I don’t know, I do not have a solution.” “I honestly feel that once you got an adult population that is 21 years old, I think it is reasonable to consider ways that they can exercise their legal right.” “Prohibition did not work in the United States and it doesn’t work on any college campus that I am aware of.”

“There’s a fundamental problem that no one will stand up to take a position on in this bloody place that we live in because no government official will take a stand.  That lake is not ours.  What right do I have to go out, talk to a private citizen and tell them to stop what you are doing.”

“We are looking at that issue, but I can tell you prohibition didn’t work in the United States and it does not work on any college campus that I am aware of unless it is some type of faith based institution.  And again, we looked at other institutions and we find that it creates more of the problems of closeted, binge drinking in secluded places and we do not feel that we want to do that.  Plus, I honestly feel that you know once you got an adult population that is 21 years old, I think it is reasonable to consider ways that they can exercise their legal rights.  I think we have to have a discussion, what does it mean to be an adult.”

 

Note: President Mills is one of the signing 130 college presidents of the Amethyst Initiative avocation a discussion of the dangerous campus drinking environment, with an objective of lowering the legal drinking age to 18. 

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In loving Memory of Kristine Guest

   
 
 
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