Several dead, more injured in Yates Co. tractor/car crash

Rescue crews work at the crash scene Tuesday afternoon / photo: Jessica Cain

The man Yates County Sheriff's deputies say sped around a tractor and caused a deadly crash is facing charges.

Steven Eldridge, 42, of Penn Yan is charged with five counts of criminally negligent homicide. He's also facing a charge of DWI.

Five people were killed in a crash involving a farm tractor and two vehicles on a rural Finger Lakes road Tuesday afternoon.

The crash took place around 12:45 p.m. near the intersection of Pre-Emption Road and Loree Road in the Town of Benton. Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike says five people were pronounced dead at the scene, and nine others were injured.

Spike says a car tried to pass a slow moving tractor and ended up hitting a van carrying 13 Amish people from Steuben County. The car's impact caused the van to collide with and be crushed underneath the tractor. Spike called the scene "horrific."

Deputies say four or five people were entangled in the wreckage and had to be extricated by rescue crews. Five helicopters, numerous fire departments, and around a dozen ambulances were reported to have assisted at the scene. Spike says some of the people who were hurt suffered serious injuries. He tells us there could be more fatalities.

The names of the victims have not been released yet. Spike says investigators have had some problems identifying them, because the Amish do not carry ID.

News 8 Now in Rochester reports that Geneva firefighters set up a decontamination site at Geneva General due to an herbicide that spilled out of the farm vehicle.

Benton is located approximately 68 miles southwest of Syracuse , and just north of Penn Yan.