The Geneseo Police Department, the Geneseo Fire Department and the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two-car motor vehicle crash on Sunday Sept. 11 on Avon Rd. Donald Lackey—Geneseo’s former human resources professional—was pronounced dead on scene. According to Village of Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian, the vehicle driven by 28-year-old Michael Bellonte from Avon, NY was going south on Avon Rd. when it hit Donald Lackey and his wife Nancy Lackey’s vehicle, which was also headed south on Avon Rd. Due to the impact of the collision, Lackey’s vehicle landed against a metal fence outside of the road. Osganian said Bellonte is believed to have been speeding, which may have caused the severe collision.
The crash occurred on the Lackeys’ 51st wedding anniversary.
Both Bellonte and Nancy Lackey were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital to treat minor injuries from the crash, including bruises and lacerations. It is anticipated that Bellonte will be charged with fleeing from police and punching the sheriff’s deputy.
According to Osganian, Bellonte’s mood was erratic after the collision.
“You don’t know what was going through his head and why he was trying to leave. After he was secure, he calmed down,” Osganian said. “His mood prior to punching the deputy was up and down. He would be calm, then he would be excited. We don’t know his history—if he’s on a medication that causes mood swings or if it was the accident itself that caused him to just want to leave the scene.”
After the sheriff’s reconstruction unit finishes their examination, the Livingston County Coroner’s Office will take Lackey’s body to a medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Osganian stated that the police department originally withheld the names of the victims out of respect for the family.
“We wanted to make sure they had time to notify the rest of their family members before we actually made a broadcast,” he said. “I think most of the community that knows Don that came by the accident knew that he was probably going to pass, but we didn’t want to officially put it out. We wanted to give some time for the family to do their notifications.”
Investigations of the accident are ongoing. Osganian noted that a blood sample of Bellonte’s will be taken and the results will be sent to the Geneseo Police within one to two months. In addition, the Livingston County District Attorney’s office obtained search warrants to access Bellonte’s cell phone and the black box data for both vehicles.
Livingston County District Attorney Gregory J. McCaffrey emphasized the importance in obtaining the black box data over a phone interview.
“This case, and in every other case, is all about gathering information and trying to get as many facts or information as possible so we can get it right,” McCaffrey said. “In any car accident, what becomes important is where vehicles were travelling, how fast they were travelling, any kind of possible mechanical failure and any kind of breaking or lack of breaking or acceleration.”
McCaffrey also stressed the necessity to look at all possible evidence in order to have a full understanding of the accident.
“Even if you look back at someone’s computer or somebody’s phone, generally there’s a lot of information,” he said. “You can locate somebody that way, you can see their activity, who they were talking to and when they were talking to them. There’s just a lot of information we want to get out there and have as complete a picture as possible.”
According to Osganian, Bellonte will be officially charged when all of the evidence from the accident has been gathered and examined.