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Four Dansville High School students involved in fatal Allegany County crash

Police: Driver only had a learners permit and took the vehicle without family permission
Posted at 10:54 AM, Jul 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 18:20:36-04

TOWN OF BURNS, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State police say four people are dead and one person is injured following a one-vehicle crash in the Town of Burns early Saturday morning July 27th.

The crash occurred around 4:30 a.m. at the T-intersection of County Route 13C and County Route 13, there were five people in the car.

According to state police, one of the teens in the car posted a video to Snapchat at 2:15 a.m. The Snapchat video shows the car was traveling just under 100 mph. The car was traveling between 50 and 60 mph when it hit a tree. Police say it does not appear the brakes were applied.

Police also say the driver,16-year-old Rebecca Earner, only had a learner's permit and she shouldn't have been driving that late at night without an adult.

Trooper James O'Callaghan, public information officer for NYSP Troop "A", said the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee was taken without family permission and was used to pick up the other four teens, whose parents did not know their children had left.

State police have identified the occupants as 16-year-old Kelsi Bird, 16-year-old Rebecca Earner (the driver), 16-year-old Ambra Eddleton, 14-year-old Justin Carpenter and 14-year-old Kyrstin Wolfanger.

Kelsi Bird was the only person to survive the crash and was wearing a seatbelt.

Police believe the others may have lived if they were using seatbelts as the crew compartment was not severely damaged.

"Those little decisions are what add up to a very tragic event," added Trooper O'Callaghan.

State Police do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved, but they are looking at the possibility of the inexperienced driver not being familiar with the road, darkness and some fog, and the possibility of the driver being distracted - either by an electronic device or because of having four other people in the Jeep.

The Dansville Central School District released a statement saying four of the occupants, including three of the people who died in the crash, were high school students.

Police say Earner failed to stop at a stop sign, traveled through the intersection and struck an embankment and a tree.

Earner, Eddleton, Carpenter and Wolfanger were pronounced dead at the scene. Bird was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for multiple non-life threatening injuries, she was the only occupant wearing a seat belt according to police.

While the details of the accident are heartbreaking, a unidentified neighbor to one of the victims, who was keeping vigil at the crash site in order to offer help to those who may need it, said it was important to remember that "these were just kids." Her hope was other young drivers would learn from the tragedy.

A "Go Fund Me" page has been set up for Carpenter. It had raised more than $2,000 within hours of it being established.

A GoFundMe account for Kyrstin Wolfanger can be viewed here

A GoFundMe account for Ambra Eddleton can be viewed here

The crash is still being investigated.