Fatal car vs. horse & buggy accident

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
The buggy was struck from behind Sunday afternoon on Rte. 364 in Yates County. The driver, Mahlon Horning, was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital, His wife, Ada, died at the scene. An accident  scene survey tripod is seen in the foreground.

YATES COUNTY – A car vs. horse & buggy accident occurred at 4:09 p.m. Sunday, June 13 on Rte. 364 near Voak Road. Yates County Deputies, Penn Yan Ambulance Corps, Potter Fire Dept., Middlesex Ambulance, Medic 55, and Emergency Management responded.  

Deputies report the vehicle driven by Robert A. Clark, 55, of Hollister St., Dundee, struck  the buggy from behind while both were traveling west. 

The collision resulted in the death of Ada Horning, 67, of East Swamp Road, Penn Yan, who died at the scene. Her husband, Mahlon Horning, 66, was taken by Lifenet helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Clark’s passenger, his wife, Nanci L. Clark, 53, was taken by ambulance to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Eastview Veterinary Clinic was called to euthanize the horse that was also injured in the crash. 

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike explained, “Mr. Clark had just come through the curves on Rte. 364 and the road was straight again. He was distracted adjusting his car radio, looked up and the buggy was ahead. He attempted to swerve left, but unable to avoid collision.  Mr. Clark was given field sobriety testing and was negative for any impairment."

"These are sad scenes for everyone involved," Spike commented. "Sadly, another case in failing to share the road with a slow moving vehicle where the motor vehicle traveling 55 mph rear ends the 7 mph horse and buggy that was legally where it was on the right side of the road with its SMV emblem and reflectors. It takes only 5.7 seconds for the motor vehicle to travel 400 feet.  Any distraction by the MV operator in taking your eyes off the roadway such a collision happens very quickly."

Clark was charged with following too closely and  failure to exercise due care when approaching a horse. 

Spike also reports Mahlon Horning has since been released from the hospital.