Driver Hits Buggy While Sending Email On Phone, Kills Horse

Luckily, it was just the horse this time. This happened in Tuscola County, in Michigan’s “thumb”. From

CARO, MI — A driver distracted by his cellphone caused a motor vehicle-buggy collision, leaving a horse dead and a woman hospitalized, police said.

About 11 a.m. on Friday, May 15, Tuscola County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash site on M-81 near Crawford Road in Elkland Township. Their investigation showed a car and a horse-drawn buggy had both been heading east on M-81.

The car rear-ended the buggy, causing the buggy’s 22-year-old female driver to be thrown from it. The horse was killed as a result of the collision, deputies said.

The woman buggy driver was taken to Hills & Dales General Hospital in Cass City via Mobile Medical Response.

The driver of the car, a 40-year-old man from Deford, was not injured. He told deputies he had not seen the buggy because he was sending an email.

Do we have to say emailing while driving is not the best idea?

The driver was “issued several citations”.

It seems like this sort of thing should be treated similarly to a DUI. Isn’t the effect about the same?

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    1. Eleanor Loos

      That is a horrible and totally unnecessary accident.

    2. Geo

      An appropriate response

      Existing laws and penalties don’t get the attention of air-heads playing with phones while driving. Most jurisdictions now have laws against this which are far too lenient. At the risk of being extremist, a few public hangings would put a stop to this idiot behavior. It’s hard to get idiots’ attention and a trivial fine does not do it. Years ago my new (and first) cellphone rang while I was driving and I nearly ditched my vehicle when I answered it, as if momentarily losing awareness what I was doing. I suspect that phenomenon happens to most or all drivers. I got my lesson. Penalties for phoning while driving need to be severe enough discourage idiots from endangering innocent people.

      1. Elizabeth

        Re: driver hits buggy while sending email

        I couldn’t agree more, Geo!

    3. C. J.

      Punishment~ Fines~ The Law

      Thank you Erik for posting another article ~ Another senseless tragedy, which could’ve been easily prevented!
      Yes, no people, but likely a hardship for a family to have to replace a fine driving horse, buggy, and pay a hefty Dr and Hospital bill… plus all of the sadness and emotional distress!
      I, for one, would be interested in follow up stories on this, and other similar crashes in other Amish communities in other states, to see what State laws say concerning a simple crash like this one!
      Are drivers held responsible, and held accountable to pay hospital bills, value of buggy replacement, and costs of a fine driving horse (which are NOT cheap) to the family… or any other compensation?
      I realize Amish usually do not press charges, but are there standardized laws in these various states that do compensate for reckless driving?
      If so, could you look into the laws of various states such as WI, IN, IL, IA, PA, NY, MA, KY, etc etc., that have the larger (& smaller) populations?
      We do not have any Amish in our State, but with frequent accidents around the country, I hope these states hold the Auto drivers accountable for losses like this!
      Thank you Erik, for the fine job that you do . Blessings~cj

      1. Glad if it was useful, CJ. Just a general message for people to keep in mind I suppose. I understand the temptation to glance at the phone, especially with how addicted people are to them. Maybe we need to start trying harder to think of that behavior in different terms.

        I hope we don’t have too many more stories like this, but I suspect we will. I do cover buggy accidents here pretty regularly, but I don’t share every one of them (that would be a lot of posting).

        If there is follow-up info on this accident or other relevant info, I will pass it along here. Thanks for your interest in it.

    4. Re: buggy hit by car

      This is terrible that people can’t be more careful & watch what is going on in the real world instead of worrying about sending an email. Put simply it can wait. Anything that distracts drivers can wait,. I mean it common sense

    5. Pat Monti

      "Just the horse..."

      “JUST the horse!!!???”

      1. Yes, *just* the horse.

        As opposed to the horse and the human driver as well.

        This is not going to be a shaming/outrage forum, so feel free to take that somewhere else.

        1. Pat Monti

          Response to Erik

          Erik, of course I understood what the phraseology was referring to. However, IMO it could have been worded differently.

    6. Margaret


      I know my attitude isn’t in synch with the Amish but as a horse lover, this is unforgivable. That horse suffered. Darn it how many times do people have to be told to get off their cell phones. What would these people have done 30 years ago before cell phones?

      NOTHING is so important it can’t wait till you’ve pulled over. Now a horse is dead and the buggy driver is in the hospital. Of course, the man is uninjured. Maybe we should stick him the back of a buggy, let it get hit and be injured. The buggy could be attached to a wooden fence.

      At minimum he should have pay for a new horse, buggy and ALL the medical bills the young lady will endure. And then he should have to attend DUI type classes. Maybe watching Death on the Highway a few times will send the message. In the meantime, he’s a worthless 40 year old child.

      1. Pat Monti

        Totally agree

        I totally agree with you on all counts! No doubt your elaboration and explanation thereof was appreciated.

    7. Cindy

      A way to help?

      I saw this story in my local newspaper. I live not too far from where it happened. I thought about this a lot and prayed for her and her horse and wondered what I could do to help in any way. I thought about contacting the hospital she went to or the police debt that dealt with it, to try to find her if possible. However, I do not want to intrude on anyone’s privacy at the same time. I wanted to find out if she was ok and also if they may need help financially or physically to replace the buggy, horse, Dr bills, etc. Does anyone have any guidance as to what I should or shouldn’t do? I don’t know much about the Amish, but I tend to respect their way of life. It really bothered me that this guy only got a citation. Anyway, is there anyway I can find out what to do or how to help? Thanks in advance.

    8. Beverly

      Dead horse and hurt driver

      I feel the irresponsible person that caused the crash to happened, that sent the buggy driver to the hospital and the family to also suffer the loss of their driving horse should be held accountable for any and all bills he caused the family to incur! It would be in this family’s best interest and to Hopefully teach him a lesson!! Shame on him!