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Brushton teen pleads guilty to criminally negligent homicide

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MALONE - A 16-year-old Brushton teen has pleaded guilty to two felonies stemming from a December car crash that left one of her friends dead and nother seriously injured.

Tanya Menke pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and second-degree vehicular assault. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 3. The plea satisfied additional charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to reduce speed – special hazards, operating a motor vehicle with a front-seat passenger other than a supervising driver, and operating a motor vehicle with a learner’s permit without every occupant of the vehicle restrained by a safety belt.

Menke is eligible to receive youthful offender status, which would spare her potential state prison time. County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr.will make the determination at sentencing.

She is represented by Jack Piasecki, of Malone.

Menke was the driver of a vehicle that crashed in the town of Brandon on Dec. 7 and killed Brooke Lyon, 16, of Brushton and left Alexis Collette, 17, of Brushton with severe head injuries. All three were juniors at Brushton-Moira Central School at the time of the accident.

She was driving a 1999 Volkswagen Beetle in dense fog and crashed into a tree, allegedly under the influence of drugs. She was attempting to steer south onto county Route 15 from McGowan Road, missed a stop sign, slid across the road, and crashed into a tree. Lyon, the front-seat passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene. Collette, who was the rear-seat passenger, and Menke were taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center and then to Fletcher Allen Healthcare in Burlington, Vt.

Collette continues to recover at home from traumatic brain injury.

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