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Vermont Student Charged With Drunk Driving In Fatal Crash Near Endicott College

SALEM (CBS/AP) — Prosecutors say a University of Vermont student had a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit to drive and was suffering from acute alcohol intoxication when he crashed his car in Beverly and killed his friend.

Joseph Castano, 20, was arraigned in Salem District Court wearing a neck brace and with his right arm in a sling Tuesday.  He was released on $25,000 bail after pleading not guilty to several charges including motor vehicle homicide by operating under the influence of liquor.

He was allowed to return to his home in Williston, Vermont.

Prosecutors say Castano was speeding in his father's BMW when he crashed crashed into a utility pole on Hale Street across from Endicott College around 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

Endicott College
Police say Joseph Castano was driving this car that crashed into a pole April 23 near Endicott College. (WBZ-TV)

Castano's passenger, 19-year-old Craig Sampson, also of Williston, died.

Sampson was a sophomore at Endicott.

Endicott College Student Killed Craig Sampson
Craig Sampson (WBZ-TV)

Castano and Sampson were childhood friends.

"Craig was someone who was very very close to them, someone they considered a son," Castano's lawyer said. "He would be often at their house, would stay with them, they lived together."

Castano was visiting the Beverly campus for the weekend.  He was taken to Lahey Hospital in Burlington, where he was treated for a broken neck and a concussion, according to his attorney.

"We can all, with children, take a life lesson out of what happened here," Castano's lawyer said.

Castano's lawyer says his client is devastated by Sampson's death.

Castano was released on $25,000 cash bail and is due back in court June 7.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz reports:

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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