Sunday, March 8, 2009

Governor Rell To Reconsider Expanded Casino Drinking Hours After Saturday's Fatal Car Crash

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Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell said that she will "rethink" plans to expand drinking hours at the two Indian casinos after a college student died in a fatal car crash Saturday in Montville.

Elizabeth Durante, a 20-year old student at Conn College, died after the van she was in was struck by a car driven by Daniel Musser. According to reports, Musser was driving on the wrong side of the highway, heading south in the northbound lanes of I-395 near the Troop E state police barracks.

Musser, a sailor at Groton's submarine base, was driving without his headlights on early Saturday morning when his car struck a van carrying 8 students. Musser was charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol.

The students were on their way to Boston's Logan International airport where they planned to embark a flight to Uganda where they were to do humanitarian work.

It isn't clear where Musser may have been drinking prior to the accident. It may take weeks to learn of his activities leading up to the crash, according to officials.

Governor Rell proposed extending drinking hours at the two Indian casinos to 24 hours a day in a recent budget plan. The state's current drinking hours last until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends.

Durante lived in the college's "substance-free" dormitory and had campaigned against college drinking, according to the Hartford Courant.

Many legislators have been critical of Rell's plan to extend the casino's drinking hours and this latest incident just may torpedo the idea altogether.