Four-car crash closes Main Street

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
Nearby merchant Dan Mitchell climbed on top of the wreck to check on the driver and reassure him help was coming.

PENN YAN — Part of Main Street in Penn Yan was shut down for several hours Friday, Nov. 5, because of a four-car crash at 3:15 p.m. near Elm Street.

Main Street was closed for several hours as the accident investigation was completed and the wrecks were cleared.

Penn Yan Police, Fire Department and Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to the rollover accident where they found a 91-year-old male driver who was trapped inside his Jeep SUV that had rolled onto its side against a large truck that had been waiting for the traffic light at Elm Street. Two parked vehicles were also struck and badly damaged.

Nearby merchant Dan Mitchell, of Staving Artist Woodwork, was first on the scene. He climbed up on the side of the Jeep, opened the driver's door to check on the man, and urged him to keep still until rescuers arrived. PYPD Sgt. Brandon DeHond used his baton to break out the rear window to safely remove the driver.

The man, who police had not named at press time, was conscious and was taken by ambulance to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital. From there, he was flown by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester where he remained in intensive care until Nov. 10, having suffered head injuries. He has since been transferred to a private room for continued observation and is expected to recover.

This parked car was pused backward and onto the sidewalk with such force that it broke off a rear wheel.

According to the police investigation, the driver had pulled up in front of a store on Main St. and had thought he put the vehicle in park. The man's vehicle began to roll and he attempted to hit the brakes but accidentally hit the accelerator. Police say this caused him to cross the street, where he struck the two parked vehicles, pushing one of them a full parking place backward and up onto the sidewalk. The Jeep then flipped onto its side and came to rest against the large truck that was stopped at the red light.

This parked SUV was the first vehicle struck by the runaway Jeep.

Police say the two parked vehicles were unoccupied, and the large truck suffered only minor damage. The three smaller vehicles all had to be towed from the scene. While there were pedestrians very near the vehicle at the time of the crash, no one else was injured in the accident. A New York state accident report has been filed, and the driver is expected to be ticketed.