Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I heard about a horrific accident which happened yesterday afternoon. When I learned more about it I became even more disgusted-and a little heartsick as well. The countryside around here is beautiful and filled with many farms. The roads are generally 2 lanes and, although the speed limit is often 55 mph you have to be careful as there are often curves and slow moving farm vehicles. Consequently, there are many places where no passing is allowed. Yesterday, about 12:45 in the afternoon, a group of Amish farmers were on a farm excursion sponsored by Cornell. While not allowed to drive, the Amish are allowed to ride as passengers. These farmers were learning about new techniques in raising poultry and using greenhouses and going to several local farms. They were driving along and a large tractor with spray equipment was coming from the opposite direction. Behind the tractor was another vehicle. The driver, Steven Eldridge, (yes, I'm using his real name) decided to pass the slow moving tractor-even though it was a no passing zone on a curve. His vehicle hit the van head on, then sent the van careening UNDER the spreader where it became embedded! Five of the Amish farmers were dead on the scene, which, according to the sheriff was the worst he's ever seen in 40 years. Ten others were injured, including the van and tractor driver, some critically. Steven Eldridge, the cause of the devastation, was uninjured. He's sitting in jail charged with 5 counts of criminally negligent homicide, various traffic violations, and driving while intoxicated. At 12:45 PM. I am truly disgusted.