State Police on quadruple fatal crash: ‘A horrible, horrible tragedy’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Police officials held a press conference Monday to discuss details of a quadruple fatal crash in Allegany County over the weekend.

State police say five teenagers, all from Dansville, New York, were traveling in a mid-sized SUV on County Route 13C in the town of Burns early Saturday when the driver failed to stop for a stop sign at an intersection and struck an earth embankment, and then hit a tree. A passerby called 911 around 4:30 a.m. and first responders arrived shortly thereafter.

The driver, 16-year-old Rebecca Earner, and the other three occupants, 16-year-old Ambra Eddleton, 14-year-old Justin Carpenter, and 14-year-old Kyrstin Wolfanger, all of Dansville, New York, were pronounced dead at the scene.

New York State Police Troop E Commander Mark O’Donnell said Monday the vehicle was traveling around 50 to 60 mph when the vehicle crashed.

“People were ejected from the vehicle. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy. The families and the community will mourn for some time,” O’Donnell said.

The lone survivor, 16-year-old Kelsi Bird, of Dansville was the only person in the vehicle who was wearing a seat belt.

“If you want to survive a crash in a motor vehicle, the best way to do that is to wear your seat belt,” O’Donnell said.

Authorities say the mid-sized SUV involved in the crash was in good working order, but was taken without permission. Officials say the operator of the vehicle was not familiar with the area.

“When you’re inexperienced and driving, maybe distracted, maybe fog issues, maybe not paying attention to what you’re doing. There’s no magic time — it’s a recipe for disaster,” O’Donnell said.

Tina Peaty organized a vigil at Babcock Park Sunday night for student and community members. The group covered the sidewalk with inspiration chalk messages and drawings, before releasing lanterns into the air, one for each of the victims.

“These were our kids,” Dr. Paul Alioto said, the superintendent of the Dansville Central School District. “These were all good kids.”

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