Sheriff Ron Spike provided another update on the serious horse-and-buggy crash that occurred on Monday around 5:20 p.m. on East Sherman Hollow Road.
He says that the investigation concluded that no impairment, distraction, or unsafe passing event occurred as previously suggested in the preliminary investigation results released by the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.
The Yates County Sheriff’s Accident Investigation Unit determined that the vehicle operated by Justin Niver, 24, of Penn Yan approached the rear of the buggy, and when he crested the hill clipped the rear-left of it.
The force of that collision caused the seven occupants to be ejected, and then the vehicle collided with the horse. The vehicle was traveling 52 mph at the point of impact.
Following investigation, reconstruction, vehicle examination, witness and driver statements, as well as consultation with the Yates County District Attorney’s Office, three charges were filed:
– Following too closely;
– Failure to exercise due care to avoid collision with a horse; and
– Failure to wear a seatbelt.
All three are traffic violations returnable to Jerusalem Town Court.
The Office of Emergency Management has arranged for a critical stress debriefing at the Branchport Fire Station on August 13th at 7 p.m. for first responders and others involved in working the multi-injury crash.
Tuesday AM Update
On Monday, Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike provided an update on the conditions’ of those involved in the serious horse-and-buggy crash, which was initially reported as ‘mass casualty’ incident by his office.
On Sunday around 5:20 p.m. a call was received by Yates County 911 for the report of a collision near 3530 East Sherman Hollow Road. Deputies responded with firefighters from the Branchport-Keuka Park Fire Department along with Office of Emergency Management.
They discovered seven people near the scene with serious injuries.
Sheriff Spike says preliminary investigation shows that Justin Niver, 24, of Penn Yan was westbound on East Sherman Hollow Road and crested the hill while approaching a horse-and-buggy.
The buggy was operated by Matthew Sensenig, 33, of Penn Yan. As Niver started to pass the buggy, another vehicle was eastbound and collided with it – ejecting the seven occupants.
Four helicopters were called to the scene. Sheriff Spike says Guthrie and Lifenet each responded and transported members of the family, as well as Mercy Flight – who made two trips.
Sheriff Spike described the injuries as follows:
– Matthew Sensenig and his wife suffered head injuries;
– Their 7-year-old son suffered multiple internal injuries and was critically hurt;
– A 7-month-old baby also suffered internal injuries; and
– Three other young boys were hurt as well.
All of the injuries were members of the Sensenig family. They were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital and Trauma Center.
By Monday morning, Sheriff Spike noted that the conditions of those involved had improved after care at Strong Memorial Hospital. While none of them had reportedly been released, their conditions had stabilized.
The horse was also seriously injured and was euthanized.
Niver was not injured, but Sheriff Spike says that his vehicle has been impounded as the investigation continues. He also noted that charges are pending in the investigation.