5 Amish Farmers Killed in Upstate New York Van Wreck

by emallernee | July 20th, 2011

July 20, 2011

Five people died and six remain hospitalized today after a horrific crash in Benton, New York, on Tuesday, July 19.

The crash occurred 43 miles southeast of Rochester when a car tried to pass a slow-moving farm tractor and sideswiped a van that was carrying 13 Amish farmers who were touring rural Finger Lakes farms.

The impact pushed the van beneath the tractor, killing five of the van’s occupants and injuring nine other people, including the driver of the tractor. Five victims had to be removed from the crumpled car with power cutting tools. The victims include a 42-year-old male, 47-year-old female, 40-year-old male, 60-year-old female, and 46-year-old female.

“It’s just a horrific tragedy,” Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike told The Associated Press. “There was a lot of hard work at the scene … The van ended up entangled and underneath the large tractor with the spray equipment on it.”

Spike told the A.P. that it was difficult to identify the dead because most Amish people don’t carry identification and that the crash was “probably one of the worst accidents we’ve had in this county that I can remember.”

The 42-year-old driver of the car—a resident of Penn Yan, New York—who tried to pass the tractor has been charged with criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated. He is being held on $250,000 cash bail or $125,000 bond.

The Amish were all residents of Steuben County, New York.

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If you or someone you know were the victim of a New York auto accident, the New York accident lawyers at the Law Offices of William Mattar may be able to help you.