Two young people from Caledonia killed in Wheatland crash

Posted at: 07/16/2013 12:52 PM
Updated at: 07/17/2013 5:28 AM

They volunteered their time, helping children with special needs. But on their way home from work, tragedy. A young man and woman are dead and three of their friends injured in a crash in Wheatland.

Loved ones are still in shock and people who live in the area are expressing concerns about the intersection where this tragedy took place.

Police say it happened just before noon Tuesday at the intersection of North Road and State Route 36 in Wheatland. Sheriff's Deputies say the five young adults, ranging in age from 17-years-old to 21-years-old were all in a vehicle that collided with a tractor trailer.

Taylor Binnert, 21, who was driving, and Christopher Peterson, 20, who was riding in the front seat, both died. Three passengers in the back were ejected from the vehicle. They were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. Emily Peterson and Michaela Murphy, both 17, and Joanne Krutchen, 20, are in guarded condition.

All of the victims are from the Caledonia area. On its website, the Caledonia-Mumford School District posted a brief statement, saying thoughts and prayers are with the students and families. The district says it is making grief counselors available to students and staff Wednesday from 8:00a.m. To 3:00p.m.  They'll be in the middle and high school counseling center and library.

Dangerous intersection?

Police say the vehicle had stopped at the stop sign on North Road before the crash. People who live in the area say there are a number of factors that contribute to crashes in this spot.

Mike McBroom has lived on North Road in Wheatland for 14 years. He says this is normally a quiet, rural area, that is until there's a crash at this intersection of Route 36 a short distance away.

 McBroom said, “You're sitting there watching TV and you hear the crash you know what it is. You pick up the phone and look out the door, 'should I call 911, yea it's bad enough'. It's something you don't want to hear, but you do.”

 McBroom says the problem is very simple and easy to fix. He says he's complained to officials for years, but to no avail.

There's a dip in the road. News10NBC saw cars heading south almost disappear. If you aren't paying attention and don't see the car before it hits the dip, it can surprise you. News10NBC decided to drive through the area to check it out. As we approached the intersection from the east, it is tough to judge the distance of a car and then going in the other direction. We found it's even more challenging if you're heading east. We had to inch way past the stop sign and even that may not be enough. You can't see around the bend, cars seem to appear out of nowhere.

Another neighbor had a different take. He says the intersection isn't dangerous, that people either blow through the stop sign or don't look both ways a few times.

News10NBC did check with the New York State Department of Transportation to find out more about the number of accidents in that area. Spokesperson Lori Maher said the Department of Transportation would not comment until the sheriff's office has completed its investigation and the DOT knows what caused the crash.