Group Traveling to Religious Retreat Involved in Fatal Crash in Wawarsing

A group of seven church members traveling in a church van from Brooklyn to the Dutchess County Honors Haven Resort in Ellenville were involved in a vehicle crash. Three of the passengers of the van, all members of a Brooklyn Seventh Day Adventist church, were killed in the crash. While investigations remain ongoing, preliminary reports have found that the driver of the van may have been the driver at fault. At the time of the accident, the van was attempting to merge onto Route 209 in Wawarsing. It appears that the driver failed to stop at a stop sign when entering the highway, and was struck on the passenger side by an oncoming tractor trailer. The driver and a second passenger were airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in critical condition. Three passengers died immediately. The two remaining passengers, along with the driver of the tractor trailer in the crash, were treated at Ellenville Hospital for minor injuries. No criminal charges have yet been filed against any of the parties to this accident, though civil lawsuits may be forthcoming.

Since churches are often reliant on volunteers to provide transportation, some members may make themselves available to drive despite a lack of experience in transporting larger groups of people. Vehicles are often borrowed and unfamiliar to the driver. Due to their larger size, they are harder to maneuver, and a van with seven people is much heavier and slower to bring to a stop than a typical vehicle with one or two passengers. Relatedly, the driver here may have underestimated the van’s acceleration speed when pulling out onto Route 209 in front of the tractor trailer. Large trucks require more time to come to a stop, making cutting off a large semi or tractor trailer in traffic even more dangerous than cutting off a normal automobile—both for their inability to perform the same evasive maneuvers as could a car, and for the additional damage done by a large truck in an accident with a passenger vehicle.

Wrongful death cases and insurance claims involve many complicated legal issues, and legal assistance may be necessary to ensure your family is fully compensated for your loss. The Kingston personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan possess the years of experience you want on your side when filing a lawsuit for a car accident or wrongful death in the Hudson Valley. For a free consultation on your claim, contact them today at (845) 338-8884.