William Finger's Fatal Car Accident, 1976

from the Geneva Daily Times June 5, 1976.

(William Finger's middle name is Douglas, and he is referred to by that name in parts of this article.
His mother's obituary, years later, mentions that he was often called Dougie)


PENN YAN - Five local youths were killed instantly when the car they were traveling in crashed into a culvert shortly after midnight on Rt. 54 (E. Lake Rd.) about two miles south of here.

Dead are: the driver, William D Finger, 19, of 211 Sherman St., Terry L. Bullock, 20, of 236 Hamilton St.; Michael J. Scott, 20, of 147 E. Main St.; Carl A. Hammond, 20, of Buckle Rd.; and Daniel J. Willis, 20, of 107 McKinley Ave.

There were no survivors in the one car accident which occurred when Finger's northbound car went out of control after rounding a curve.

The late model blue sedan traveled about 233 feet along the right side of the road through a ditch before striking a driveway culvert at 254 E. Lake Rd., according to the Yates County Sheriff's Dept.

Deputies said that the car went into the air after striking the stone embankment and came down on the other side of the driveway with its front end in a ditch.

All five persons were trapped in the car which was demolished. Yates County Coroner Charles F. Sackett said that the youths died instantly of multiple internal injuries.

Gordon Finger father of one of the victims, told The Times this morning that the boys had left Penn Yan about 8 p.m. and were returning to Penn Yan around midnight when the accident took place.

"Several women stopped by the house around midnight and told me there had been an accident down the road by the country club; they said they thought it might have been my son and they said we ought to go to the hospital and wait. So we did."

Mr. Finger added, "it was about 3 a.m. when we found out the worst."

According to Mr. Finger, the boys were friends since high school days. His son had been doing construction work on the resurfacing of a state road near Hammondsport and had recently been laid off. Michael Scott, he said, had a job at Coach and Equipment; and Terry Bullock had only recently finished the spring semester at Monroe Community College.

Sheriff's officials said that ambulance workers and firemen needed to use hydraulic rescue equipment in order to extricate the bodies from the wreckage of the car.

The car was apparently traveling at a high rate of speed, deputies said, and an eyewitness said that the car was traveling extremely fast as it came out of the curve onto a straight stretch of highway.

Edwin Simonson of Bath was traveling south when he saw Finger's car go out of control. He pulled over about 30 feet away from where the crash took place and rushed to the scene. A trained ambulance worker, Simonson said that he was unable to assist the victims because the car was so badly tangled.

"It hit the culvert and then folded up just like a can," Simonson said. The accident occurred in front of the home of Samuel K. Wolcott Jr. at 254 E. Lake Rd.

Pam Wolcott, 14, who was home when the crash took place, said that both ends of the car had folded up like a " V." She said that workers were on the scene until 3 a.m. cleaning up the wreckage.

Deputies said that Willis was riding in the front seat with Finger and that the others were In the back seat. None of them were wearing seat belts, according to the sheriff's department.

Investigating officers are Sheriff George F. Spike, Det. Ronald Spike and Dep. Robert Keuhne. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Weldon Funeral Home in Penn Yan, and the Townsend Funeral Home, also in Penn Van.

The Mass of the Resurrection will be said Tuesday at St. Michael's Church with the Rev. Paul J. Ryan officiating. The service will be at 10 a.m. Burial for Carl Hammond will be at Second Milo Cemetery. Burial for Daniel Willis and Douglas Finger will be at St. Michael's cemetery.

Calling hours for Terry Bullock will be Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at Weldon Funeral Home and the funeral service will be Monday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with the Rev. Stanley Robinson officiating. Burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery.

At the Townsend Funeral Chapel calling hours for Michael Scott will be Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. and Monday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral services will be Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. from the chapel and at 10 a.m. from St. Michael's Catholic Church. Burial will be in St. Michael's Cemetery.

Scott, 20, is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mary Scott, one sister Rose Ann Serven; two brothers, Joseph and Ignatius, all of Penn Yan, and several aunts and uncles.

Hammond, 20, is survived by his parents, Carl and Fannie Hammond, two sisters, Mrs. Bonnie Hyatt of Hamlin, Mrs. Janice McConnell of Penn Yan; his maternal grandmother Esther Maiolo of Watertown, three nephews, two nieces, several aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was a 1974 graduate of Penn Yan Academy, class of 1974. Hammond was also a member of the Seneca Lake Duck Hunters Club, and was employed at the Robert Hyatt Construction Co. as a carpenter.

Finger, 19, is survived by his parents, Gordon and Betty Finger, one sister Mary Gale at home; several aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was a Penn Yan Academy graduate in 1974, and was employed as a carpenter's helper.

Willis, 20, is survived by his parents Charles and Marjorie; two brothers, Charles of Geneva and Michael of Penn Yan; his maternal grandmother Mrs. Golda Conklin of Geneva, three aunts and two nephews. He was a 1974 Penn Yan Academy graduate, and a student at the State University College at Brockport.

Bullock, 20, is survived by his parents, Paul and Barbara; his paternal grandmother Mrs. Grace Bullock of Penn Yan, his maternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Russell Snyder of Penn Yan; one sister Susan at home, several aunts, uncles and cousins. He was a graduate of the class of 1974 at Penn Yan Academy, and a student at Monroe Community College.

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