GATES — For the second time in two weeks, investigators say a crash involving a wrong-way driver on Route 490 has turned deadly.
The latest crash happened near exit 6 in Gates. Police say around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, they received a call for a driver traveling westbound on Route 490 in the eastbound lane near Route 531.
Shortly after that call, that vehicle, driven by 37-year-old Thomas Rome, of Kirkwood, hit a sports utility vehicle near exit 6, police said, adding that the impact of the crash sent both the SUV and the car into a spin. The SUV was then hit by a third vehicle, traveling the correct direction, behind the SUV, police said.
Investigators say inside the SUV was Tatiana Tchekina, 69, the driver, and her husband, Oleh Krysa, 71. Deputies say Tchekina was pronounced dead at the scene and Krysa was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. Rome was alone in his car, and deputies say he smelled of alcohol. He suffered a broken leg and a severe arm injury. He was also taken to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment.
The crash remained under investigation with charges pending on Saturday.
This is the second such incident in two weeks on Route 490. In the other crash, state troopers say Robert Rector, 30, of Fairport, was driving drunk, and also headed in the wrong direction on Route 490 near the Ames Street exit when he hit a car driven by Khadijah McKenzie, 19. McKenzie was killed in the crash, and Rector was charged with DWI and manslaughter. Rector has plead not guilty to those charges.
Tchekina was an accomplished pianist and part-time professor at the Eastman School of Music. A statement from the school reads, in part, “Professor Tchekina was a valued member of our faculty who influenced the lives of the many students with whom she collaborated on performances and competitions. As a world-class musician, she had an international career both as a solo pianist and in collaboration with Professor Krysa. Our thoughts are with Oleh, and their family and friends at this very difficult time.”