Driver in deadly Amish crash sentenced
A Penn Yan man will spend the next 12 to 24 years behind bars after pleading guilty to causing the crash that killed six Amish people last summer. Steven Eldridge, 42, was sentenced for aggravated vehicular homicide and assault in Yates County Court Tuesday. Our Lara Greenberg reports.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
BENTON, N.Y. -- "Words can't really describe the amount of damage, the amount of loss, the amount of trauma and grief that this defendant caused in this small community."
It was a tragic crash that killed six people and injured eight more.
Steven Eldridge was driving down Preemption Road in the Town of Benton last July when he tried to pass a tractor. Instead he drove into oncoming traffic, forcing a van full of Amish people to swerve and crash into the tractor.
Eldridge later admitted to using cocaine and prescription drugs that day. He pleaded guilty and will now pay the price for his actions.
"He should get more really for what he did. And for what he's done in the past too," said Pauline Kennedy, the grandmother of Eldridge's stepchildren.
The second felony offender will spend 12 to 24 years in prison for aggravated vehicular homicide. He also faces time for aggravated vehicular assault, driving while ability impaired, and reckless driving.
None of the victim's family members appeared in court, but Eldridge's attorney said he's been in touch with members of the Amish community, showing remorse and seeking forgiveness for the crimes he committed.
"They've offered him a lot of solace and he's grateful for that," said Eldridge's attorney Edward Brockman.
He also apologized in court.
District Attorney Jason Cook is unsure if Eldridge is truly that remorseful. But said he's happy the case never went to trial.
"I'm very pleased that people in that van don't have to relive and describe in very detailed testimony what they saw," said Cook.
Steven Eldridge has also waived his right to an appeal. His license has been revoked and he's been ordered to pay more than $292,000 in restitution to the victims' families for their medical bills.