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Crash claims the life of Marlboro sophomore

December 7th, 2012

A Marlboro High School sophomore was killed over the weekend when the car she was riding in struck a telephone pole on Western Avenue near Albertson Road.

Sarah Smith

According to Town of Marlborough Police, Sarah Smith, 16, was ejected from the backseat of a 1997 Ford Explorer at around 3:30 a.m. Saturday when the driver, 18-year-old Marlboro senior Devin Pierre, lost control of the SUV and struck the pole on the passenger’s side.

Smith was transported to Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie where she was later pronounced dead. Pierre and a 15-year-old female passenger were also transported to Saint Francis. Pierre was treated and released but the younger student, whose name is not being released, remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The accident is still under investigation but Police Chief Gerald Cocozza Jr. confirmed that drugs and alcohol were not factors.

“[Pierre] was home sleeping with his family when he received a call around 2:30 a.m. from who turned out to be the female, front seat passenger,” Cocozza explained.

“She requested a ride from a location she and Sarah were at in Marlboro. Mr. Pierre went to the location and picked them up and within three quarters of a mile, the accident occurred.”

Cocozza said that Pierre, who is not facing criminal charges, described a sound he heard right before the accident that is leading police to look into the possibility that a tire malfunction occurred.

“He is a young driver, it is a bad road,” he said.

A 12-member crisis team was put in place throughout the school district beginning Monday morning to help students cope with the loss of Smith, a Newburgh resident who was on the junior varsity cheerleading squad and a member of chorus and the drama club. Police officers were also on-hand at the high school and middle school to help answer questions and dispel rumors.

“The driver was being accused of all sorts of things through social media,” Cocozza said. “We were there to give the students the facts.”

While he described many of the students as being visibly upset, the police chief felt confident that things would slowly start to get better as the week goes on.

“There was a lot of hugging and consoling going on, especially within the tenth grade; Sarah’s grade,” he said. “[The students] are taking advantage of the services being offered and that seems to be helping.”

Sarah Smith was a sophomore at Marlboro Central High School where she was a member of the Chorus and drama club. She was also a member of the track team and a cheerleader.

A memorial visitation for Smith will take place on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at St. Mary’s Parish Hall, located at 73 Grand Street in Marlboro. A mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday at St. Mary’s Parish, located at 71 Grand Street.

By Jessica Murray

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