5 Amish Farmers Dead, 10 Injured in NY Tractor, Vehicle Crash

07/20/2011 // WPB, FL, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Benton, NY — Five people were killed and 10 others are injured after a car sideswiped an oncoming van while trying to pass a farm tractor on a curve Tuesday afternoon, July 19, 2011. The fatal crash occurred around 12:40 p.m., in the town of Benton, reported USA Today.

According to police, a car was attempting to pass a slow-moving tractor that had spray equipment attached to it on a curve, when it sideswiped an oncoming van that was traveling north through the town. The impact sent the van crashing into and under the tractor, which was headed south at 5 to 10 mph.

“The intersection is a no-passing zone at a curve. The driver of the car decided to pass the tractor …The passenger van was forced to collide with and became embedded in and under the tractor,” Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike said.

Thirteen Amish farmers, which included both females and males from Steuben County, occupied the van while on a “farm excursion” when the accident occurred.

Five people were killed in the wreck, which were identified as Melvin Hershberger, 42; Sarah Miller, 47; Melvin Hostetler, 40; Anna Mary Byler, 60; and Elizabeth Mast, 46.

Responding emergency crews rushed 10 others to area hospitals for treatment of extensive injuries they sustained in the crash. The injured victims included van driver Lyn Oles, 41, of Greenwood, N.Y.; and farmers Martha Hostetler, 36; Enos Miller, 32; Rose Anna Miller, 31; Emery Miller, 47; Andy Byler, 60 and Evia Hershberger, 38.

The tractor driver, Tim Labarr, 44, of Dresden, N.Y., and farmer John Mast, 47, were also injured. They reportedly sustained internal injuries in the wreck, which has put Mast in the intensive care unit.

Farmer David Miller, 51, was treated at the scene by emergency medical technicians and released.

Police stated that the Amish farmers were all from the towns of Woodhull and Jasper, N.Y., southwest of Corning, N.Y., near the Pennsylvania border.

The driver of the car, Steven Eldridge, 42, of Penn Yan, N.Y., was arrested on five counts of criminally negligent homicide and with driving while intoxicated; reckless driving, unsafe passing, speed not reasonable and prudent, and failure to keep right after passing. Eldridge is currently being held on a $125,000 cash bail or $250,000 bond.

Investigations into the fatal crash are underway.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for New York automobile accident lawyers.

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