Two Genesee County men killed in horrific Thruway crash

Photo courtesy of Don Preston

MENDON, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two men from Genesee County were killed in Monday’s horrific crash along the Thruway east of Rochester.

Around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, first responders were called to I-90 West in the Town of Mendon near Exit 45 (Victor) when a commercial vehicle hauling a construction vehicle traveling eastbound crossed the center median and plowed into westbound traffic, striking a pickup truck head on.

The two occupants of the pickup, 51-year-old Michael Pehrson of Batavia and 25-year-old Christopher Rheinheimer of Darien were pronounced dead at the scene. The operator of the commercial vehicle, 51-year-old Roger Labar of Prattsburgh, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

After the initial collision, a westbound tractor trailer hauling produce struck a damaged guide rail, puncturing its fuel tank. The driver was able to escape without injury before the cab became engulfed in flames.

A fourth vehicle hit debris in the road, causing it to spin out. It was struck head on by a fifth vehicle. The driver of the fourth vehicle, a 70-year-old man from Canandaigua, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the fifth vehicle was uninjured.

A sixth vehicle was damaged by debris, but did not collide with the other vehicles. No other injuries were reported.

The westbound lanes were closed for more than seven hours on Monday as investigators examined the crash site. At this time, no charges have been filed, but State Police say the investigation continues. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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