Monday, December 22, 2014

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Amish mourn loss of Yates County crash victims

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Amish mourn loss of Yates County crash victims
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For members of Amish community in Steuben County, it's been a devastating two days. They lost five people to a crash in Yates County when a van of Amish passengers collided with a tractor. Our Lara Greenberg has more.

JASPER, N.Y. -- "It just doesn't seem real that it would be so many people, touching so many families and so many children that's parents won't be coming home tonight."

Lucy Luckey has lived near members of the Amish community for the past five years. She describes them as friendly and strong group. One that's trying to cope with the loss of five people in Tuesday's crash.

"They're badly injured or they're gone and nothing is going to replace them," said Luckey.

Luckey drove some of the Amish to one of the victim's houses Wednesday. She says Elizabeth Mast left behind 19 children.

Close to a hundred Amish people gathered at the home of Melvin Hershberger Wednesday. He's their Bishop and lost a son in the crash.

"I can't do much to help them except offer my phone and my gas to drive them around," said Luckey.

And she's not the only one helping. One couple dropped off a truckload of food to the Hershberger's home Wednesday. And the rest of the community is coordinating.

"I know that we're making food. The whole community is rallying around them. People are transporting them. They're opening up their homes," said Diana Burgess, a friend of the Amish community.

And friends say the Amish will likely forgive Steven Eldridge, the driver who now faces charges regarding the crash.

"They'll forgive him a lot easier than the rest of us probably will because that's their way," said Burgess.

And the Amish plan to pay their respects to their loved ones at funerals on Friday.

The Bishop told us off camera that he appreciates all the help and support they've received from the non-Amish.

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