Police: Driver in double fatal crash in Gates had drugs in car, suspended license


GATES, N.Y. (WROC) — A driver involved in a crash Wednesday that resulted in two people dying has been arrested and charged, Gates police announced Thursday.

Police say Anthony Vandoren, 43 of Rochester, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated unlicensed operation, and driving while ability impaired.

Police say Vandoren was driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck Wednesday on Spencerport Road around 11 a.m. when the vehicle left the lane and struck a Chevrolet Trax SUV.

Two people in the SUV — 67-year-old Dianne Donnelly and 81-year-old William Lawson, both of Hamlin, New York — were pronounced dead at the scene, police say.

Vandoren was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, officials say.

MORE | 2 dead, 1 injured after head-on crash on Spencerport Road in Gates

Police say Vandoren was operating a company owned commercial truck at the time of the crash. The company was UA Maintenance LLC.

Police also say Vandoren was driving with a suspended New York State driver’s license, with suspensions dating back to 2010, and he was found in possession of “multiple single use packages of suspected heroin/fentanyl.”

At the time of the crash, Vandoren also had a bench warrant out of Pittsford Town Court for aggravated unlicensed operation from 2014 and a second warrant out of Henrietta Town Court from 2018.

Vandoren was arraigned at the hospital and bail was set at $25,000 cash, $75,000 property bond, or $250,000 partially secured bond. Police said Vandoren remained in the hospital Thursday.

The owner of UA Maintenance LLC. was also charged Thursday morning. Jarrett Defazio, 26 of Rochester, is charged with facilitating unlicensed operation and multiple department of transportation infractions. He’s scheduled to appear in Gates Town Court at a later date.

Additional notes from Gates Police Department:

  • For the past 20 years – local Law Enforcement has issued tickets to Mr. Vandoren on numerous occasions for driving with a suspended license. We do not believe he has ever held a valid license for the past 20 years. New York has NEVER adequately addressed the issue of a Suspended Driver’s license and currently, Albany is looking at “decriminalizing” this offense and not suspending your license if you fail to pay a ticket. People continue to drive on a daily basis that should not be on the road.
  • The Misdemeanor ticket issued to the employer, Jarret DeFazio, for Facilitating Aggravated Unlicensed Operation is for their FAILURE to allow Mr. Vandoren to operate a 15,00 pound commercial vehicle when they should have known, he has not held a license in years.
  • This crash and loss of life is directly connected to the ongoing Opioid Epidemic. An Opioid Addiction is 24/7 which explains an accident like this at 11 a.m. Our streets, at ALL hours of the day, are a danger to our communities with the Opioid Crisis still in full swing.
  • We would like to thank the citizens and witnesses who came forward to provide information. Community involvement is always necessary for a successful investigation.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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