BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – Testimony resumed Tuesday in the trial of Dustin Drake, the alleged drunk driver accused in a crash that left four people dead in Pulteney more than 3 years ago. Drake faces 15 counts, including 4 counts of second degree murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, and felony DWI. The DWI charge was raised to a felony because Drake had a previous DWI conviction within the past 10 years.

Drake’s attorney, Ray Schlather, spent the day trying to raise doubts about whether Mr. Drake was the person behind the wheel when the car slammed into a tree on County Route 76 in Pulteney, just after 1am on October 12, 2019. The impact killed 28 year old Korbie Higgins, 26 year old Coy F. Miner Jr., 25 year old Nicole Wise, and 29 year old Adam Bellamy.

On Tuesday, the jury heard from the lead investigator in the case from the Steuben County Sheriff’s office. The investigator testified that he interviewed Drake just days after the crash, when he was released from a hospital after sustaining minor injuries. The investigator testified that Mr. Drake stated he did not believe he was driving that night. According to testimony, Mr. Drake told the investigator the last thing he remembered was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle, and then waking up on the grass near the crash site. The vehicle had slammed into a tree, ripping it open.

Defense attorney Schlather also questioned the lead investigator about a damaged key blade that was found in the wrecked vehicle more than 3 years later, on January 2, 2023. That key was later determined to match the vehicle involved in the crash, a Dodge Caliber. However, the lead investigator testified that physical evidence was not tested for fingerprints. According to testimony, the key was also not submitted for DNA testing by New York State police. The lead investigator also stated that no DNA analysis was done on both the exterior and interior driver’s side door handle, as well as the driver’s side seatbelt. The lead investigator testified that hair fibers found on the driver’s side head rest were also not tested for DNA. According to testimony, investigators did retrieve a DNA sample from Dustin Drake on October 15, 2019.

Earlier in the day, the jury also heard from another paramedic who was among the first to arrive at the scene and interact with Mr. Drake. The paramedic testified that Mr. Drake appeared confused but was alert and speaking clearly. Mr. Drake stated he did not know where he was, and then started coming in and out of consciousness. The paramedic stated Mr. Drake said he was not driving the vehicle, and started asking about the condition of one of the occupants before he was airlifted to a hospital.

The mother of one of the victims, Korbie Higgins, was in the courtroom for a second day accompanied by other relatives. She declined to comment on camera. Defense attorney Ray Schlather and Special prosecutor Raymond Benitez also declined to comment after Tuesday’s proceedings. The prosecution will continue cross-examining witnesses when the trial resumes Wednesday at 9:30 am.