FOR MOST, JUNE 10, 1999, was a generally unremarkable day. New York’s Hudson Valley bustled in normal routine – adults went to work, children attended school, the 12 o’clock siren sounded in the quaint village of Montgomery.
“I grew up not really fitting in, I always felt like something was different about me.”
IN THE NIGHT two boys burst from a house, spilling onto the lawn. Inside a party raged, but they were too rowdy and had been booted. The night was young. They climbed into a red Ford Mustang. They had been drinking.
“We were young. I didn’t have an answer. Alcohol was my escape.”
THE TWO BOYS PICKED UP A THIRD AND DROVE TOWARD BEACON, a town on the Hudson River’s east bank. Two sat in the front, one in the back. They were distracted by many things: loud talk, the stereo, intoxication.
THEY ENTERED THE NEWBURGH-BEACON BRIDGE, a mile-and-a-half arc of metal spanning the wide Hudson River. The driver was unable to stay in the lane and clipped the side of a tractor-trailer. Fearing police, he accelerated as they crossed the bridge. The speedometer raced past 100 miles-per-hour.
The speedometer continued to climb…
Ahead were the toll booth barriers, concrete structures with narrow lanes between.
But they didn’t slow.
The car was all over the road.
They were going much too fast.
“The last thing I remember was leaning my head back against the headrest, seeing the bridge rafters flash by overhead.”
“Where are my friends?”
TWO BOYS DIED THAT NIGHT. Only one would survive. Ed Devitt was transported to a local hospital. He had a long road ahead, and it wasn’t certain what would come.
His life would never be the same.