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Winnetka college student with a love of music killed by hit-run driver in New York

Sarah McCausl| phocourtesy McCauslfamily

Sarah McCausland | photo courtesy McCausland family

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:57PM

A college student from Winnetka died Friday night when a suspected drunk driver ran into her as she walked with friends in Tivoli, N.Y., killing her and another student, according to police.

Sarah McCausland, 19, was a 2013 New Trier High School graduate studying anthropology and linguistics at nearby Bard College.

“She had a hunger for knowledge,” said her father, Andy McCausland, 52, who said she was teaching herself to speak Icelandic.

“She was eloquent, intelligent beyond belief,” said her mother, Sandra McCausland, 51. “She could win any argument. She was just a treasure to us.”

Also killed in the crash was another Bard student, Evelina Martin Brown, 20, of Seattle.

The driver took off after the crash. Soon after, the Dutchess County, N.Y., sheriff’s office arrested Carol Boeck, 63, of Red Hook, N.Y., and charged her with driving while intoxicated and first-degree vehicular manslaughter. Boeck has a previous conviction for drunk driving, the sheriff’s office said. She was ordered held on $50,000 bail.

McCausland loved music and performing. At New Trier, she was involved in choir groups and orchestra and traveled her junior year with a school group to Australia, where they performed at Sydney’s opera house, her father said.

“She was passionate about music and the arts,” Andy McCausland said.

She played guitar and sang in a duet with a friend at restaurants and benefit concerts, he said, and she also played banjo and ukulele and was teaching herself to play piano.

Lori Kusatzky, 19, performed at New Trier with McCausland in a girls chorus called Coraliers and in the school’s choir-opera program, a musical theater chorus. She said her friend would perform at a local Potbelly’s — and get paid with sandwiches.

She said McCausland performed for two years in swing choir, an elite, jazz-based choral group at New Trier, “where her voice soared.”

“She had this passion for life and took advantage of every opportunity,” Kusatzky said. “She wanted to study people and different cultures.”

McCausland’s father said, “She was full of life. She was very spunky. She had very strong opinions and was not afraid to argue to her side of the opinions. She had no patience for anyone else whose opinions or whose points of view could not be backed up.

“We’re just gonna miss her so dearly.”

The parents said they haven’t finalized plans for a service but hope to have a memorial at Winnetka Presbyterian Church next weekend. McCausland is also survived by a younger sister, Tori,16, a sophomore at New Trier.

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