Driver charged with vehicular manslaughter

Cold Spring resident Helen Santos, 65, was killed on Saturday morning (May 10) in a collision on Route 9 near the Putnam-Dutchess County border. Town of Fishkill Police told The Paper that 19-year-old Richard Wright was driving southbound at about 7:30 a.m. when his vehicle crossed over the double line, hitting the Santos’ vehicle head-on. Mrs. Santos was taken to the Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital (formerly St. Francis Hospital) in Poughkeepsie. Her husband Miguel (Michael), who was driving their vehicle, was taken to Westchester Medical Center for treatment. On Thursday, May 15, Mr. Santos remained in critical condition.

Wright, a resident of Mohegan Lake, New York, was charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, two counts of vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated and failure to keep right. Police indicated that his blood alcohol level was 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit. He was arraigned on the day of the accident and held at the Dutchess County Jail until his release on bail on Monday. He is scheduled to appear in Town of Fishkill Justice Court on June 4.

Mrs. Santos is survived by her husband, Michael, of Cold Spring, two sons, Joseph J. and Debbie Montalto of Rye, New York, Darrin M. and Melissa Santos of Cold Spring, two daughters, Claudine and Matthew Beachak of Cold Spring, and Andrea and Scott Bunker of Beacon; two brothers, William and Monica O’Neil of Stony Point, New York, and Joseph and Ginger O’Neil of Stony Point, one sister, Maureen Spofford of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 14 grandchildren and a sister-in-law, Mary O’Neil. She was predeceased by one brother, Thomas O’Neil.

This story has been updated May 14, 2014.

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