Local News

State Police Make Arrest in Fatal December 2022 Crash in Homer


An arrest has been made by State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations at Homer following a fatal December 2022 crash near the entrance ramp to I-81.

A 15-year old female has been charged with the Class E felony of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of misdemeanor assault in the third degree. The incident occurred when a Cortland County Sheriff’s deputy observed an SUV drive through a red light at the intersection of Route 281 and West Main Street in the Town of Cortlandville. The deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop when the vehicle refused to comply. The SUV and Sheriff’s vehicle lost control and crashed after failing to negotiate a turn onto the I-81 on-ramp in the Town of Homer.

The four occupants of the SUV were later found to have run away from the William George Agency for Children’s Services in Tompkins County and had stolen a vehicle from there. The rear seat passenger, 16-year old Salena Wallner, died at the scene while the 15-year old female driver, a 16-year old female passenger and a 15-year old female passenger were hospitalized with serious injuries. An investigation determined the deputy had no part in the cause of the crash, and that the 15-year old driver’s actions were negligent, leading to the death of the passenger and the injuries to two others.

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