Update: Eastman School of Music professor killed in wrong-way crash on 490

Updated: 12/09/2013 5:13 PM
Created: 12/09/2013 3:30 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

It’s hard to believe -- a second wrong-way, deadly crash on 490 in two weeks. News10NBC has learned new information about the man sheriff’s deputies say was driving the wrong way Saturday morning.

Deputies say the driver is Thomas Rome, a captain in the Army National Guard. He is from Binghamton and is currently in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. Investigators tell News10NBC they have not had a chance to speak with him but charges are pending.

The crash happened on 490 eastbound near Exit 6 (Route 204) in Gates. Deputies say Rome hit the SUV of Oleh Krysa and his wife, Tatiana Tchekina. She died at the scene. She was an assistant professor at the Eastman School of Music. Her husband, who suffered minor injuries, also teaches there.

Today we spoke with Markiyan Melnychenko, a grad student at the Eastman School of Music. He said, ”It's just such a tragic loss of life in such a quick way and someone who has been so special to the lives of all of the students who she came in contact with.”

Today at a gas station at the Tinseltown exit, we asked people for their reaction to another wrong-way crash.

Brandon Welch of Gates said, “I think the only way you can stop this from happening is just having cops either stop people before they get on the interstate or stop them when they get off. There's nothing else you can do about it really. Unless you've got cops sitting there stopping people.”

We spoke with the state Department of Transportation today. They say the signage, markings on the pavement and the engineering of the exit ramps make it as difficult as possible to get on 490 the wrong way. They also say up to 75-percent of these kinds of crashes involve alcohol. In the sheriff's office report, they say deputies smelled alcohol on the driver's breath. No charges have been filed as of yet.


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