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Amish Community Reeling After Cart Crash

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Amish Community Reeling After Cart Crash

Postby Happy Mom » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:43 am

This is so sad; I was surprised that children, as young as 10 years old, are able to drive these carts on County Roads.

Amish community reeling after cart crash claims second child's life

WSBT-TV Report

5:44 p.m. EDT, September 5, 2011

MIDDLEBURY, Ind. — A second child has died and four remain injured after their pony cart was struck by an SUV in the 10500 block of County Road 24 in Middlebury Monday.

According to the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department, around 10 a.m. the children pulled out onto the road and into the path of the eastbound SUV.

One child, 10-year-old Jenna Miller, died at the scene. And around 5:40 p.m. the sheriff's department confirmed for WSBT that 7-year-old Jolisa Miller died after being airlifted to Parkview Hospital.

Police say the pony, which was also killed, was pulling two carts. The SUV only hit the pony and the first cart.

Three medical helicopters were called in to take four of the children to the hospital. Two were in serious condition and two were in critical condition.

The driver in the first cart, 10-year-old Jeneva Miller, was airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (UPDATE: Jeneva is listed in critical condition as of 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.) The second passenger in the cart, 4-year-old Jared Miller, was airlifted to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Both of them had head injuries, according to police.

Jenna and Jolisa were also passengers in that first cart.

There were two riders in the second cart — 9-year-old Joyce Miller suffered a head injury and was airlifted to Parkview Hospital. (UPDATE: Joyce is listed in fair condition as of 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.) Justin Miller, 5, had shoulder pain but declined medical treatment at the scene.

Neighbors in the close-knit community are now coming together to help the family cope with this tragic loss.

"It's really tough when you lose one person. We're all close…" said neighbor Kenny Stutzman.

Their homes may be far apart, but the people living along that part of County Road 24 are very close.

"There are nine families that live along here, and lots of little children," said Stutzman.

Now one family will be relying on the strength of their neighbors.

"Nobody expects something like that, so it brings all the neighbors together," Stutzman said.

The Elkhart Sheriff's Department says they have several accidents involving carts or buggies and cars each year. They are urging people to be aware of their surroundings while investigators try to find out who, if anyone, was at fault.

"Not knowing the exact cause of this crash, it'd be hard to make a determination, but it never hurts for anybody just to pay a little extra attention when they're on the roads," said Capt. Michael Culp with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff chaplains were on hand to talk with family members. A WSBT reporter at the scene said the driver of the SUV, a 60-year-old Bristol woman, was uninjured but visibly shaken up and apologizing to many of the people who lived nearby. They were consoling her.

The driver was not cited at the scene.

The crash is under investigation by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. ... 0820.story
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Re: Amish Community Reeling After Cart Crash

Postby Happy Mom » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:43 pm

Deadly Amish crash near Middlebury raises questions

By Kelli Stopczynski (

WSBT-TV Reporter

6:16 p.m. EDT, September 6, 2011
MIDDLEBURY — A tragic Labor Day accident near Middlebury is raising questions about the laws surrounding the use of horse-drawn carts and buggies on local roads.

Two children died and three others were seriously hurt when an SUV hit the pony carts they were riding in about 10 a.m. Monday.
All six children on the cart were 10 or younger.

In all, four children were airlifted from the scene — two of them remained in critical condition this evening and a third was listed in fair condition.

Investigators said the pony pulled out in front of the SUV from a private driveway. The SUV hit the pony, and the impact of the crash pulled the two carts into the vehicle's path. The speed limit on that stretch of road is 55 miles per hour,
but Elkhart County Undersheriff Sean Holmes said investigators will check to see if the SUV had a device that could tell them how fast the SUV was going at the point of impact.

Goshen College professor Steve Nolt has worked closely with Amish communities in both Pennsylvania and Elkhart County for more than 15 years.

"In some ways the Amish probably think about children in a pony cart much like children on a bicycle or a scooter or a mo-ped in wider society," Nolt explained.

He also said many Amish schools actually use a workbook to educate Amish children about buggy safety. But kids don’t generally get those workbooks until seventh or eighth grade, he noted. The child driving the pony cart hit by that SUV on Monday was only 10 — the age of a fourth- or fifth-grade student.

When asked about the age of the child driving the cart, Holmes answered, "Do you allow a 10-year-old to ride a bicycle on the roadway? Yes, we do. There's no law governing that. The point is we all share the road, and vehicles themselves do not have total ownership of the roadway."

The Indiana Driver’s Manual says riders of horse-drawn vehicles have the same rights and responsibilities as all other drivers. But just above that part of the manual, the section on bicycles says a large number of bicyclists are children and "... driver(s) cannot assume a child will adhere to the laws."

"Maybe that’s something we ought to look at as a community — if they’re going to be allowed to drive on the road in carts, how about some education just like bikes?" Holmes said.

When asked whether consideration should be made to possibly change cart and buggy laws, state Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said it’s not something that needs to be looked at right now, in a knee-jerk reaction while the family is mourning.

"We do need to take time to learn from this," he said. "We need to keep in mind that the Amish have a distinct way of life — we need to respect that. But we need to make sure they are kept safe."

State Rep. Wes Culver, R-Goshen, said he plans to talk with the half-dozen other state representatives who also live in Amish communities.

"I would not be interested in putting an age limit on properly marked vehicles used as farm equipment on the road," he said. "But if it's used for recreation — a cart, buggy, tractor or bike — I would be in favor of having an approved age where children could legally use it on the roadway."

He went on to say he also thinks it might be a good idea to give buggy and cart drivers a "skills test" that they have to pass, similar to the rules-of-the-road test taken in order to get a driver's license. ... ?track=rss
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