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Young man from Bergen killed in motorcycle accident in Le Roy, passenger seriously injured

By Howard B. Owens

A 19-year-old resident of Bergen died today, and his 19-year-old friend was seriously injured when the motorcycle they were on slammed into a seden at the intersection of West Bergen Road and Selden Road, Le Roy.

Derek K. Sheldon was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ashley M. Stillwell was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital where she is listed in critical condition.

Sheldon was driving his 2005 Suzuki motorcycle north on West Bergen Road when a 2011 Chevorlet Cruze apparently made a left turn onto Selden Road from West Bergen Road.

The motorcycle hit the car on the passenger side and both Sheldon and Stillwell were ejected from the motor bike.

State Police said both Sheldon and Stillwell sustained multiple injuries.

The driver of the Cruze is identified as Marilyn A. Brassie, 50, of Bergen. She was uninjured but clearly distraught following the accident.

No further details about the crash have been released, which remains under investigation. No charges have been filed pending completion of the investigation.

Sheldon's Facebook page quickly filled with messages from grieving friends this afternoon. According to the page, Sheldon worked for MY T Acres and Triple P Farms.

The NYSP Collision Reconstruction Team responded to the accident.

The Sheriff's Office, Le Roy Fire andLe Roy Ambulance assisted at the scene.

Christopher Putnam

Not too hard to puzzle this one out, The car was traveling south, the bike north, the car CUT IN FRONT of the bike to make its turn, the bike had the right of way since it was not making a turn. Negligent vehicular manslaughter. Only thing that saves her is if the bike was speeding.

Aug 4, 2013, 9:15pm Permalink
Doug Yeomans

Chris? Why would you say something like that? Do you know more than we do at this point? We know nothing about what happened, and neither do you.

Remember what I said in a post earlier this week about being judged by a jury of our peers? This, folks, is exactly what I was talking about. Guys like Chris are who serve on juries. It's pretty frightening.

Aug 4, 2013, 10:10pm Permalink
Doug Yeomans

1. Knows nothing about what happened or circumstances pertinent to the accident
2. Doesn't talk to the ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION TEAM, investigators, rescue crew or possible wittnesses
3. Arrives at a defined conclusion based on a picture and a news report
4. Passes a verdict of manslaughter - BRILLIANT!

Why do we need investigators and accident reconstruction teams when we have Chris Putnam on the job

Aug 4, 2013, 10:23pm Permalink

A good case for not jumping to conclusions...the first report at 12:11 on the Batavian read,

"Car strikes motorcycle and its two riders...." Clearly, the motorcycle did the striking.

So yes Christopher, let's wait until we have all the details.

Aug 4, 2013, 10:51pm Permalink
Wendy Atkinson

Exactly Doug. Hard to figure out Chris?? Ok, then either you do not live in LeRoy, as I do, or you DO NOT follow the Laws of the Road. The intersection where this occured, is a 2-way stop with the driver on Selden road required to stop in both directions.(Thwing Rd is the road Selden becomes after crossing W/Bergen. My self also as Doug points out, even I do not know the whole story, BUT, shall I make assumptions too?

Aug 4, 2013, 10:58pm Permalink
Kyle Couchman

Considering Chris's rants whenever there is an incident at Wal Mart maybe he should follow his own advice. Apparently Chris is participating in an internet activity called trolling. I am beginning to feel sorry for him if this is what he has to do to get people to pay attention to him.

As other have said maybe he should stop making assumptions. But we all know he wont. But maybe if we stop reacting he'll just go away like most of them do.

Aug 5, 2013, 8:20am Permalink
Rich Richmond

Riding a motorcycle involves a much greater degree of risk that may result in serious injuries and/or death under the best of conditions as opposed to a car or truck.

Let the accident construction team do their job.

Aug 5, 2013, 8:35am Permalink
Michelle WIlliams

I can tell none of you are pleased with chris's wording but I understand what he is saying. Wendy actually gave the most crucial information. The bike and car were heading towards each other on West Bergen Road which means neither had a stop sign at this intersection (referencing Wendy's comment). Also oncoming traffic has the right of way over someone making a left hand turn. That is a basic road law in New York State (section 1141 under the right of way). I believe what Chris was trying to say is that the car turned in front of the bike at its most basic level which means she either did not give herself enough time to turn without risk of collision or she may not have seen the bike for a variety of reasons (sun glare, blind spot, etc) IF the bike was speeding then yes it would have contributed to the accident. But again I think Chris was simply referring to the idea that a left turning vehicle must yield to all oncoming traffic and that if the car did not yield it would be at fault. Again, we do not know the conditions yet though so no one can say you are right or you are wrong. I would agree with the idea that there are small details we need to know before we accuse anyone of manslaughter. I did collision work on motorcycles and cars for 5 years of my career. Typically the insurance sides with the driver who had the right of way given no other factors were involved (alcohol, speed, blind spots, sun glare, etc) looking at the photo the car was t boned in the center so for whatever reason whether it was speed, distance or something else the motorcycle could not avoid the collision. My prayers go out to the family of everyone (including the driver of the car) involved. I lost my fiance in 2007 to a motorcycle accident 3 months before my wedding. The loss is devastating and I cannot imagine how the driver of the vehicle feels knowing she was involved in an accident that claimed a life-regardless of whether anyone was at fault. As a community we should focus more on the impact that events like this have on the individuals and families involved and less on attacking each other on here.

Aug 5, 2013, 8:55am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Good comment, Michelle, and I agree with your conclusion.

One possibility you left out is the one behind the signs we see planted in so many front yards this time of year: Look twice.

A lone motorcycle on the road is easy to miss at first glance. A driver's mind is just naturally more attuned to seeing cars.

Then of that famous experiment where people told to watch a group of basketball players pass a ball around and count how many times it's passed. The vast majority of people in that experiment never see the man in a gorilla suit walk through the scene.

I'm not saying this so much to speculate about what might have happened, but as a reminder to all of us -- myself included -- to be more conscious of what's going on around us on the road. I'm not interested in playing the blame game. A tragedy occurred in our community and we should pray for those involved.

Aug 5, 2013, 9:05am Permalink
Michelle WIlliams

Exactly Howard! So many things could have very innocently caused this accident. The sun on our windshields makes it hard enough to see cars so it is almost impossible to see a motorcycle (esp. Sport bikes) in this condition. Like the accident in wheatland, the curve of the road, trees, blind spots and hills, it is not always malicious. The example with the basketball players is excellent because often times we develop a sort of tunnel vision of what's ahead of us but not off center or to the sides. I truly hope for the passenger on the bike and the driver of the vehicle that she recovers both physically and mentally

Aug 5, 2013, 9:56am Permalink
Wendy Atkinson

So true Michelle, and Howard!!! Tragedy for all families involved, I do not know the two young people, but I do know the driver. I can only half imagine what a toll this is on anyone both physically and mentally.

Aug 5, 2013, 12:13pm Permalink
Doug Yeomans

My point was that I thought it was callous of Chris to state that Marilyn A. Brassie was guilty of negligent homicide (manslaughter). I still stand by that. Of course we should focus more on the impact that this has on the families involved and that's exactly why I was so put off by Chris's comment.

Aug 5, 2013, 2:13pm Permalink
Tim Miller

To Chris' defense, the story does describe the car turning left, and the center right side of the car appears to have been hit at a single point -damage that is consistent with being hit by a motorcycle, and the caveat of " unless they were speeding" was used.

It is distressingly easy to either become distracted or our focus become myopic when driving, making lesser vehicles (Minis, Smart Cars, and especially motorcycles) easier to simply miss being seen. That being said, when you go out on the road in a 2,500-4,500 lb missile, it is your responsibility to keep control of it. If, due to glare, bushes, turns, whatever, you can not be sure that it is safe to make a turn, DON'T TURN!

My (very preliminary) guess based on the information available in this article, including the picture, is that Chris' rant will be,darn near close to the truth...

Aug 5, 2013, 3:48pm Permalink

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