WALTON "" Charges are pending as the result of an accident in Walton early Saturday that killed a Walton man, Delaware County Undersheriff Doug Vredenburgh said Monday.

Alcohol and speed were factors in the crash that killed Frank Ruiz, 28, of Walton, who was declared dead at the scene, deputies said.

The driver, Katherine Covell, 22, of Walton, remained at Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center in Johnson City in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Eduardo Torres, 21, of Walton, a passenger in the back seat, was taken to Delaware Valley Hospital, where he was treated for unspecified injuries and released, deputies said.

Vredenburgh said the investigation of the accident is complete, but officials are still awaiting details from the accident reconstruction report and the blood-alcohol results.

"We are providing the district attorney with all the documents," Vredenburgh said.

Vredenburgh said the case may go to a Delaware County grand jury or charges may be filed by the Delaware County Sheriff's Department.

Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup said he has requested that a special prosecutor be assigned.

Northrup said Monday that he knows too many of the people involved, including Covell, who took part in a New Visions law and government class that shadowed court officials.

An autopsy completed Sunday at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton revealed that Ruiz died of extensive injuries, including a broken neck and back, Vredenburgh said previously.

Ruiz, a front-seat passenger, had been wearing a seat belt, the undersheriff said.

According to a news release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, at 2:54 a.m. Saturday, deputies responded to the accident on state Route 10, near what is known locally as ``Ice House'' turn.

Covell appeared to have lost control of the vehicle, which struck the guardrail, spun around and hit several large trees before coming to rest over the guardrail against a tree on the east shoulder of the road above the river, deputies said. The engine compartment caught fire.

The initial investigation revealed Covell had consumed alcohol before the accident and was traveling at a high rate of speed when she lost control of the vehicle, deputies said.

Vredenburgh said Covell was giving Ruiz and Torres a ride to their home, not far from where the accident happened. They had been in Walton, probably socializing, he said.


Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at stardelhi@stny.rr.com.

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