Driver ticketed in Yates County horse and buggy crash; 2 remain hospitalized

PENN YAN, N.Y. (WHEC) — A couple remains in the hospital after a man rear-ended their horse and buggy Wednesday afternoon on Route 14a in Penn Yan, Yates County.

Deputies ticketed 55-year-old William Valentin, of Geneva, for failing to exercise due care in approaching a horse and following too closely.

Ella Horning, 79, and Ivan Horning, 80, both of Penn Yan, were ejected in the crash and were airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital. The Yates County Sheriff’s Office says both suffered serious head and internal injuries, including fractures.

Deputies say contributing factors in the crash include speed and distracted driving. They ruled out alcohol and drugs.

"We have discussed the case with the District Attorney Todd Casella for consideration of criminal negligence assault by vehicle charges," Sheriff Ron Spike said. "District Attorney Casella has agreed to present the matter to the next session of the Yates County Grand Jury for their consideration if criminal charges are appropriate."

The buggy was destroyed in the crash, and a nearby farmer secured the horse after it ran off.

Valentin was not injured. He will appear in Benton Town Court at a later date.