Eldridge gets state prison sentence
PENN YAN—Steven A. Eldridge, 42, 110 E. Main St., Penn Yan, has been sentenced to a maximum of 24 years and minimum of 12 in state prison for his role in a fatal multi-vehicle collision that occurred on July, 19, 2011. The crash, which took place on Pre-Emption Road in Benton, resulted in sixth deaths. Judge W. Patrick Falvey issued the sentence for Eldridge on Tuesday, March 20 in Yates County Court.
Eldridge was sentenced for the charges of aggravated vehicular homicide (class B felony), aggravated vehicular assault (class C felony), driving while impaired by drugs, and reckless driving. He previously pled guilty to all four counts on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Eldridge was arrested the day of the crash and had originally been indicted on 18 counts on Sept. 22 by the Yates County Grand Jury.
According to District Attorney Jason Cook, Eldridge admitted to driving a 1995 Oldsmobile southbound on Pre-Emption Road and tried to pass a tractor in a no-passing zone. The Oldsmobile ended up colliding head-on with a northbound passenger van that was sent spinning in the path of the tractor. Cook noted Eldridge claimed to have taken cocaine and prescription drugs in Rochester on the day of the crash and was unable to see any oncoming traffic. “There are not words in the English language that can describe the harm this individual has caused,” stated Cook. He added the crash scene was something that is typically “seen in a third-world country, but not Yates County.”
Before his sentence was issued, Eldridge expressed remorse for the damage and pain he caused to families who lost loved ones in the crash. “I would like to apologize to the people I hurt so deeply,” he said. Falvey told Eldridge his actions were a sign of the dangers that arise from driving under the influence. “Mr. Eldrigde, you stand before the court as a prime example of the horrors of driving under the influence of drugs,” the judge spoke. “No time you serve in jail can equal the heartache you caused to the community.”
Falvey noted Eldridge has a prior conviction, from Monroe County in 2006 for grand larceny of the third degree, for the theft of a police car. Eldridge was sentenced to a term of two to four years in state prison for that crime.
Along with his sentence in state prison, Eldridge has been issued a $292,033.14 fee for six restitution orders for the burials and medical costs of all parties involved in the accident. He will also get his driver’s license revoked.