Genesee Country Express

SPARTA — A two-car crash about four miles north of the Village of Dansville left one dead and three with serious injuries Thursday morning.

John Linehan, 22, of Livonia, was traveling southbound on Route 256 around 6:20 Thursday morning when he tried to pass a dump truck hauling a backhoe. While doing so, Linehan struck a northbound vehicle, driven by Theodore Markel, 41, of Dansville, head on.

Markel was pronounced dead at the scene.

Linehan and Markel's two passengers, Matthew Markel, 20, and Joe Greene, 22, both of Dansville, were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital; Greene via ambulence and Linehan and Markel via mercy flight.

A third vehicle, driven by David Lang of Caledonia, sustained minor damage when trying to avoid the accident. Lang was uninjured.

Many members of the Sheriff’s Office were on scene for investigation along with fire and EMS units. Officers from the Dansville Police Department assisted on scene, as did a state police trooper.

Though so far Linehan has not been charged with any crime, they could be coming, said Matt Burgess, chief deputy of police services with the Livingston County Sheriff's Department, depending on the outcome of a toxicology report.

“Minimum, unsafe passing,” said Burgess when asked what Linehan would likely be charged with. “The wildcard is if he had any drugs and alcohol in his system. That's not something we know yet.”

If drugs or alcohol are found to have been in Linehan's system, he could face more serious charges.

“The only way it could ratchet up to anything additional is if he was under the influence of something,” said Burgess, adding that the sheriff's department had no reason to believe that Linehan was under the influence of anything. “Any time we have an accident with serious injuries or with a fatality, we always obtain blood.”

Matt Markel was listed in guarded condition Thursday afternoon in Strong Hospital's intensive care unit.

Linehan was listed in satisfactory condition. Hospital officials were unable to determine Greene's condition.