Vigil held for high school grad killed by alleged drunk driver

June 26, 2012 3:24:36 AM PDT
Police say a drunk driver caused a deadly accident on Long Island late Sunday that killed an 18-year-old girl who graduated from Copiague High School just two days earlier.

On Monday night, friends and fellow students brought flowers, candles and tears to remember 18-year-old Brittany Walsh, of Lindenhurst.

Authorities say 31-year-old Michael Grasing was driving under the influence of alcohol on Montauk Highway in Copiague around 10:40 p.m. when he allegedly hit the back of Walsh's vehicle, causing her car to overturn and hit a utility pole.

Walsh was pronounced dead at the scene. Her car had a sticker on the driver's side door, declaring "Congrats Grad."

Grasing, of Babylon, was treated for minor injuries, arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

"I tell my kids, don't be the one to screw up," dad Tom Walsh said, choking back tears. "She didn't even have a chance. He screwed up. I can't fix that now."

Walsh went to her prom last Thursday before graduating with honors on Friday. She was getting ready to attend York College in Pennsylvania at the end of the summer.

Investigators say Walsh was killed instantly when her car flipped several times.

"Am I angry at that man?" Tom Walsh said. "I would be lying if I said no."

Grasing, a married father, is charged him with DWI. Detectives are trying to determine where he was prior to the accident.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact police at 631-854-8152. All calls will remain confidential.

The Copiague School District Board of Education issued the following statement:

The Copiague Board of Education and administration extend our deepest condolences to Brittney's family and friends during this very difficult time.

On Friday night, June 22, 2012, 18-year-old Brittney Walsh graduated from Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School with an Advanced Regents Diploma. She was planning on attending York College in the fall.

Brittney excelled in her academics and was a very active student. She was involved in varsity club, varsity soccer, winter and spring track, National Honor Society, student council, chorus, ecology club, and also helped build sets for the school play.

The district is truly saddened by this terribly tragic event. Grief counselors will be available to both students and staff, as needed.

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