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Caledonia community reacts to deadly accident
Caledonia, N.Y.— When the news spread through Caledonia that there was a bad accident on Rt. 36 and North Road in Wheatland, many people understood how this could have happened.
Several neighbors in the area said that intersection is dangerous.
Taylor Binnert, 21, and Christopher Peterson, 20, were killed when the 1995 Jeep Wrangler Binnert was driving was hit by a tractor trailer. Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies said that Binnert appeared to roll through the stop sign. Investigators said the tractor-trailer driver didn’t have time to stop.
The passengers in the back seat were rushed to Strong Memorial Hospital. Emily Peterson, 18, Michela Murphy, 18, and Joanne Krutchen, 20, are all in guarded condition.
All five young adults and teens are from Caledonia and graduated from Caledonia-Mumford High School.
Caledonia Mayor Joseph Caluorie knows all of the victims and their families, and even taught the Cal-Mum grads a class for their government course.
He said that the small, close community will be reeling over the loss of Binnert and Peterson for some time.
“Caledonia is a small knit community,” Caluorie explained. “We kind of joke that everyone knows everybody. But in some sense, that's good thing because a community like this will come together and we will be there to support the families.”
Caluorie describes all the victims as “good kids” who come from good homes and great families.
He said that the caliber of their character was shown by the crash victims’ actions earlier in the day – they were coming back from a day of volunteering at summer camp for special needs students when the crash happened.
“Just knowing that they were doing what they were doing, it tells you a lot about them,”Caluorie said. “They weren't hanging out for the summer. They were helping people and that just supports what I said. They were good kids. They are good kids. Definitely.”
13WHAM also spoke to Chris Peterson’s former high school baseball coach. He said, “Chris is the kind of kid you want as your son.”
On Tuesday night, the Caledonia-Mumford School District released this statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the news that former students were involved in a terrible traffic accident. We express our deepest sympathies to the families of those involved. This is a small tight-knit community which will come together and offer the students’ families assistance and support.”
Grief counselors will be available Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Caledonia-Mumford High School.