A somewhat bad news, and a rare good news story today in the buggy accidents department.
First, this is the largest number of accident victims I have ever seen in a buggy incident. Thankfully, they all seem to have just minor injuries. The accident happened in Buckingham County, Virginia.
The Virginia State Police (VSP) are reporting the Amish buggy involved in a two-vehicle accident Sunday, Sept. 6, in Buckingham County was struck from behind by a car. The car’s driver has been charged with reckless driving.
The crash occurred at 7:53 a.m. on Route 15, less than a mile south of Route 617. An Amish horse-drawn buggy that was pulling a wagon was traveling north on Route 15 when it was struck from behind by a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt,VSP Public Relations Director Corinne N. Geller said in a press release.
The buggy and wagon had a total of 15 occupants, she noted. The operator of the buggy, John Yoder, 33, of Dillwyn, was partially ejected and was transported for treatment of minor injuries.
The remaining 14 passengers were all transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries, Geller stated. Their ages ranged from 35 years of age to 5 months old.
The vehicle driver was uninjured. Founded in 2016, Farmville has been a fast-growing community over the past several years, drawing Amish from Lancaster County.
Buggy Accidents With Injuries Decline Slightly in Lancaster County
In a related, good news story, analysis by Lancaster Online finds that buggy accidents involving injuries declined slightly in Lancaster County in the past decade, compared to the previous decade.
The actual numerical drop is not huge, though there were significantly fewer fatalities comparing the first decade of the 2000s with the second.
Total buggy accidents with injuries:
More importantly, but not mentioned in the article, is that these numbers are more significant than they look – when you consider population growth in the Amish community in the same period.
The Amish population grows rapidly. The overall Amish population is said to double roughly every 20 years.
If total accidents have declined somewhat, while the Amish population is rapidly growing, the per capita accident number is going to be significantly lower (though it’s harder to pinpoint those figures over time for comparison purposes).
Lancaster County might not have quite that high of a growth rate, due to out-migration. But, their numbers have still significantly increased over the past 20 years.
So this slight decrease is more significant than it first looks. Perhaps safety measures and awareness have improved in that time.
6-Time DUI Offender Sentenced For Buggy Crash
One more story while we’re on the topic. A judge in Lycoming County, PA had some choice words for a 6-time DUI offender who hit a buggy and injured six Amish people while drunk and speeding in 2017:
“I’m sorry all this happened,” said Cranmer, who pointed out he has been in counseling for several months.
Lovecchio was skeptical of his claim that every time he drank he got caught. That’s an exception that disproves the norm, the judge told him.
He refused to accept Cranmer’s claim assessments show he does not have a substance abuse disorder noting alcohol has destroyed his life, his health and impacted others and his future.
Saying he expects Cranmer to start drinking again when he gets out of prison the judge commented: “Maybe you could do the community a favor and move to the wilderness somewhere and drink yourself to death.”
The judge sentenced him to 4 to 8 years. A sad story all around. You can sense the exasperation in the judge’s words. This guy is a repeatedly-proven threat to community safety, and it doesn’t take a PhD to predict how his story is apt to continue once he’s released. It’s unlikely he’ll change course with that track record, though miracles can happen.