According to Yates County District Attorney Jason Cook, 42-year-old Penn Yan resident Steven Eldridge, “turned Pre-Emption Road on a nice summer day into a gruesome scene of death, destruction and human carnage—something one expects to see on the TV news from a third-world war zone.”
Indeed, last summer, Mr. Eldridge, high on cocaine and prescription drugs, crashed his car into a van carrying 14 Amish farmers from Steuben County. The farmers were expecting a peaceful, relaxing day touring farms in the Finger Lakes area. Instead, six people were killed and eight were injured.
According to the Star-Gazette, Mr. Eldridge was trying to pass a tractor in the rural town of Benton, NY, when he hit the farmers and pushed their van under the moving tractor. It is hard to imagine the acute pain and loss associated with that amount of gruesome brutality, and our thoughts and prayers still extend to the family, friends, and loved ones of the victims and the citizens in theYates County community, a place deeply shaken by one man’s tragic irresponsibility.
Today, Steven Eldridge was sentenced to 12-24 years in state prison for aggravated vehicular assault. For his recklessness and his total disregard for the safety of others, he is paying a price—one that, after driving under the influence of drugs and creating such unnecessary tragedy, he deserves. According to District Attorney Cook, Mr. Eldridge was more concerned about the damage to his car than the people trapped or killed by the crash. For his complete lack of conscience and respect, Mr. Eldridge is getting what is truly fair: time in prison.
Justice has been reached in this case, and I can only hope that it helps the victims and those affected by this accident find a greater sense of peace.
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)