Ithaca, N.Y. — A probe into the cause of the fatal crash of a tractor-trailer into Simeon’s on the Commons is nearing completion, according to Ithaca police.

Officer Jamie Williamson of the Ithaca Police Department said he could not give a definite date, but said a key component of the investigation— a report from New York State Police crash experts — will likely be done and turned over to city police in the next  couple of weeks.

The crash June 20 killed a 27-year-old pregnant mother, Amanda Bush, who worked at Simeon’s, and wrecked the southeast corner of the four-story building housing the business and upstairs apartments.

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The state police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit is assisting city police by reconstructing the crash and attempting to determine exactly what happened. The truck was moving down State Street/Route 79 at about 40 mph, according to witnesses, was unable to brake effectively and could not complete a 90-degree turn onto Aurora Street at the bottom of the hill.

Police ticketed the driver, Viacheslav Grychanyi, for having a defective brake-limit device and driving an over-length vehicle. He is scheduled to appear for trial Aug. 7 in Ithaca City Court.

Williamson said he serves on the IPD’s crash reconstruction team and knows  how complex the blend of science and math can be for a car crash.

“That all changes exponentially when you think about a commercial motor vehicle,” Williamson said. That’s why the city police turned to state police for their expertise. “An investigation of this magnitude takes time. The dynamics involved are just so vastly different from most other police investigations.”

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.