Amish buggy crashes like Friday’s fatal incident not uncommon in Ohio, data show

Friday night’s fatal crash in which a pickup truck hit a horse-drawn buggy shares similarities with other automobile-buggy accidents in the state, according to Ohio Department of Transportation data.

An ODOT study of Amish buggy crashes in Oho involving a motor vehicle from 2007 to 2016 identified 1,412 crashes leading to 25 fatalities and 208 serious injuries. The most common scenario was a vehicle not maintaining assured clear distance on a straight state road.

On Friday night, a 23-year-old woman was killed and two infants and a man were critically injured after they were ejected from a buggy in an alcohol-related crash in Shelby County.

“The preliminary investigation indicated that the buggy was westbound, properly lit, on State Route 47. A westbound SUV struck the buggy from behind,” Lt. Tim Bender of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said of the deadly crash involving four members of a local Amish family.

The crash happened just before 9 p.m. in the 22000 block of State Route 47 West near Tawawa-Maplewood Road in Shelby County near the Logan County border.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The two infants were flown by CareFlight to a Dayton hospital, and the man was taken to Wilson Memorial Hospital, then transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

None of the victims’ names were released as of Saturday afternoon.

The SUV driver, whose name also has not been released, attempted to flee. His vehicle was stuck, so he ran on foot, the lieutenant said.

“He was apprehended by Logan County Sheriff’s deputies about a mile from the scene,” Bender said. “It is possible the driver of the vehicle was alcohol-involved.”

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The SUV driver suffered minor injuries.

“The horse (pulling the buggy) also had minor visible injuries and was taken to a farm nearby,” Bender said.

The 911 call originally went to Logan County because the crash happened so close to the county line,and both agencies are handling the crash jointly, Bender said.

The SUV driver will be cited for assured clear distance and likely will face more charges in the fatal crash.

This is one of several serious car-buggy crashes in our area in recent years.

In July 2017, a couple and their four young children were injured in Shelby County when their buggy was rear-ended by a car on Ohio 47. A teen was killed in August 2016 when a buggy in Wayne County, Ind. was rear-ended on U.S. 35, and the 17-year-old was ejected from the carriage and struck and killed by another car.

A vehicle traveling at 55 mph on a country road coming up 500 feet behind a buggy moving at 5 mph has six seconds before colliding with the buggy, and "(t)herefore, immediately upon seeing the slow moving vehicle emblem, slow down and prepare to pass with caution," ODOT advises.

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