Police, Fire, Courts

October 3, 2012

Teen pleads guilty in friend's death

Admits role in wreck that killed friend, hurt another

BRUSHTON — A teen with no license who smoked pot and crashed a car, which killed one passenger and hurt another, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in Franklin County Court.

Tanya Menke, 17, of Brushton admitted her actions led to the death of Brooke Lyon, 16, of Moira, who was killed in a one-car crash at the intersection of McGowan and Eddy roads in the Town of Brandon at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, 2011.

Menke also pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular assault for the severe injuries suffered by a second passenger, Alexis Colette, 17, of Brushton.

All three were students at Brushton-Moira Central School.


Menke is to be sentenced on Monday, Dec. 3, by County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr. He is awaiting a pre-sentencing report from the County Probation Office before determining whether she should be granted youthful-offender status.

If she is, the courtroom would be closed to the media and spectators at sentencing, and her criminal record would be sealed.

Criminally negligent homicide and vehicular assault are felony counts, and each carries a possible sentence of one and one-third to four years in state prison that could either run concurrently or consecutively because there are two victims in the case.


Because Menke’s legal status is still being weighed, District Attorney Derek Champagne said “an eligible youthful offender” pleaded guilty to the two most-serious charges involved in the Dec. 7 crash.

The driver had only a learner’s permit, not a driver’s license and had smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel of the 1999 Volkswagen Beetle, he said.

Menke was driving McGowan Road in thick fog but did not slow down, according to police. As she prepared to turn onto Eddy Road, she failed to stop at the stop sign, careened down an embankment and crashed into a tree.

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