Five farmers killed in tragic accident

Driving while intoxicated takes a heavy toll on New York families. Drinking and driving is not just a crime, it is a form of reckless behavior that causes accidents, injures people and affects lives. A recent accident demonstrates just how devastating a DUI car accident can be.

Following the July 19, 2011 death of five Amish farmers in an alleged DUI car accident, the physical and emotional toll of that event is still unfolding. The grisly fatal accident in Benton, New York left 14 children motherless in one family alone. The effects of this DUI accident were so severe that emotional trauma also affected dozens of first responders who treated the unfortunate victims at the scene.

First responders from all over Yates County met with a psychologist the next day to work through their issues of grief and emotional trauma from the crash. The accident’s harsh circumstances left more than a dozen living and dead bodies tangled in a pile of flesh, metal, glass, and soybeans. One veteran rescue worker called it the worst accident scene he’d seen in 40 years of service.

The Amish farmers had been working with Cornell University representatives with experimentally designed greenhouses in separate locations. While the University van carried them from one location to another, the driver who allegedly caused the accident approached. The driver, recently released from a two-year prison term for taking a stolen police car on a 13-mile high-speed chase, tried passing a slow tractor. He collided with the van, driving it into the tractor.

It left all three vehicles in a tangled heap, trapping the seriously injured with the dead. Six other Amish farmers and the van’s driver incurred serious injuries, and were hospitalized. The tractor driver and another farmer also went to the hospital with internal injuries. One farmer was released after receiving treatment at the scene. The alleged DUI driver in this fatal motor vehicle accident faces charges of driving while intoxicated and five counts of negligent homicide.

Sources: USA Today, “Responders cope with aftermath of grisly N.Y. crash,” Jon Hand, July 21, 2011

USA Today, “Amish community gathers to mourn 5 killed in N.Y. crash,” David Andreatta, July 21, 2011

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