Victims in Route 31 crash identified

The victims and driver in a deadly crash on Route 31 have been identified.

State Police say 17-year-old Victoria C. Deverso of Liverpool was killed when the car she was in crashed head-on with a van around 3:00 Monday afternoon. Another girl in the car, 18-year-old Chelsea L. Kuss of Hamden Drive in Syracuse, was injured and remains in critical condition at Upstate University Hospital as of Tuesday morning.

The State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit in Oneida tells CNY Central that they have identified the driver of the 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer as Chelsea Kuss. Investigators had initially said it was not clear which girl was driving the car because the impact of the crash was so violent.

The driver of the van, 38-year-old Peggy Blume, was also taken to University Hospital with critical injuries. At last check Tuesday morning she is listed in serious condition.

State Police say Deverso and Kuss were heading west on State Route 31 when they tried to pass several vehicles and get back into the driving lane. They lost control and hit Blume's van, which was on the other side of the road heading east.

Neighbors say there are a lot of crashes along that stretch of Route 31 near Lucas Road, and many of the people involved in those crashes are speeding.

"It's very devastating, and you know people just aren't paying attention when they're driving," says Nancy Maraia. "So, you just hope for the best, and if you can help people I guess you do."

The investigation continues, but police say it looks like speed was a contributing factor. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon for Deverso.

A Facebook page has been started in Deverso's memory.