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NY motorist pleads not guilty in fatal Amish crash
Court Watch | 2011/10/14 09:26
A motorist arrested after a wreck that killed six Amish farmers in rural upstate New York pleaded not guilty Friday to aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges.

Steven Eldridge entered his plea in Penn Yan, his hometown in the Finger Lakes region. The former garbage collector didn't speak during his arraignment in Yates County Court.

The 42-year-old Eldridge also was arraigned on a charge of driving while impaired by drugs, a misdemeanor.

No relatives of the victims or the seven Amish injured in the crash appeared during Eldridge's 15-minute court appearance.

Authorities said his car sideswiped a van carrying 13 Amish farmers from neighboring Steuben County on a Finger Lakes tour on July 19. The Amish van careened into a slow-moving tractor traveling a country road in Benton, 45 miles southeast of Rochester.

Five farmers were killed, and a sixth later died of her injuries.

Police say Eldridge was driving in the town of Benton when he passed the tractor on a curve and ran into a van carrying 15 people, 13 of them Amish who were visiting local farms. Rescuers struggled for hours to free victims from the wreckage lodged under the tractor.


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