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Former sailor to serve up to eight years for fatal crash

By Karen Florin

Publication: TheDay.com

Published April 09. 2010 5:28PM   Updated April 09. 2010 5:33PM

Former Navy sailor Daniel E. Musser is expected to plead guilty to manslaughter and drunken driving charges next month in connection with the March 2009 crash that killed Connecticut College student Elizabeth Durante and injured others.

He is expected to enter his plea at a May 5 court appearance and be sentenced at a later date to up to eight years in prison.

Musser, who was stationed at the Naval Submarine Base and lived on Michelle Lane in Groton, was driving a Honda Accord that struck a van head-on. The van was carrying Durante and other Conn students to Boston’s Logan International Airport, where they were to board a flight for a humanitarian mission to Uganda.

Durante, a 20-year-old junior pre-med student from West Islip, N.Y., on Long Island, was thrown from the van and died at the scene. Seven other students in the van and its driver were treated and released from area hospitals.

Musser told state police he had four or five drinks at the Ultra 88 club at Mohegan Sun over the course of the night. He had a blood alcohol content of .13 when he was tested following the crash. The legal limit for driving in Connecticut is .08. He was arrested at the scene and has been held on a $300,000 bond while his case was pending.

According to state police, Musser left the casino shortly after 3:30 a.m. and became confused when he tried to enter Route 2A. Instead of getting on the westbound lanes of Route 2A, he drove his car onto the eastbound side of the highway and headed west to the interstate, which he accessed by driving the wrong way down the Interstate 395 off-ramp.

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