Driver In Michigan Buggy Crash Speaks
It’s been a little over 2 weeks since the crash that claimed the lives of siblings Caleb, Fannie Mae, and Elizabeth Miller.
Last week, Ronald Ramsey, who was driving the vehicle that struck the children’s buggy in Eaton County, Michigan, spoke to media.
I can’t help but feel great sympathy for this man. He explains what happened in the crash:
Ramsey told News 8 in an interview Friday that he didn’t see the buggy until it was too late.
“Shade trees were over the road, but I was also facing the sun,” Ramsey said. “I just didn’t see the buggy until I was on top of it.”
“I’ve passed buggies hundreds of times on the same road,” he added. “I’ve always been able to go around them.”
It sounds like speed or substances were not a factor in this crash, and that it was simply an accident.
In accidents like this, first thoughts naturally go to the victims. Mr. Ramsey, who lost his wife a year ago, will have a heavy burden to deal with.
“This was an accident. What do you say to anybody when you take their kids?” Ramsey said. “I know how bad I feel. I’m in misery all the time.”
“I just feel terrible. If I would’ve seen them in time I would’ve avoided them,” Ramsey said. “It’s the worst thing I have ever faced… I will live with this for the rest of my life.”
The Amish community has reached out to him:
Also helping him through his healing process — the loved ones of the children killed in the crash.
Ramsey said he’d received several cards from members of the Amish community. Some of them are from relatives of the victims.
“It’s been for several days now, I’ve been getting cards from them,” Ramsey said. “I’m included in their prayers, which I appreciate.”
He wants to meet with the family:
Ramsey said he has not yet spoken to the Miller family in person, but he has communicated messages to them through his pastor. He says he hopes to meet with them when the time is right.
“They know I want to meet them at some time,” Ramsey said.
His daughter is with him lending her support. Thoughts and prayers go out to Ronald Ramsey.
I wanted to express my sincere sympathy to you Mr. Ramsey for the accident you were involved in. I pray you will be able to forgive yourself at some point for this unfortunate event. God has already forgiven you, and I pray you will feel His forgiveness and I’m sure as hard as it’s been for the family of the victims, they, too, have forgiven you. I pray for all of you to feel our loving Father’s arms around you as you all go through the grieving process.
Roads around here
I live two counties away. Our roads look similar to the one in the pic. And there are so many distractions–deer jump out, the trees shadow then bright sun, branches in the road–I expect I have thanked God 100 times that there was no one in the way when I was distracted. This can happen to anyone. And to drive slow enough to anticipate all hazards makes oneself a hazard to others. I pray for peace and healing for all involved. Thanks for printing the point of view of the driver. Many buggy accidents are due to alcohol or excessive speed, but not all.
It sounds like it was simply a case of the sun blinding him. This can be quite dangerous and doesn’t get talked about much, but it seems it’s come up frequently over the years as a cause of these accidents.
My sympathies to all involved. Things can happen with no one at fault.
Driver In Michigan Buggy Crash
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the children
and the driver. It was a terrible tragedy for all involved and I
am glad that some of Amish community is reaching out to the
driver, who is suffering greatly, and who also needs a great deal
of support and help. Would there have been anything that could
have made the roads safer for buggy travel, on that day? I don’t
know, but hope that those who have studied the danger faced by
buggies, on public roads, might have some ideas.
It’s a good question. I do wonder how much a broader education effort about buggy safety basics – speed differences, hills and other obstructions, the sun – might help.
Leave the English out of Amish fatalism practice.
This accident is heart rending and I face the same conditions as the Mr. Ramsey
The Amish buggies here in Northern New York are invisible at night with just a single kerosene lantern. Their religious dogma is more important than practical safety standards. They say Gods will is what matters or something like that. They totally ignore the fact that their fatalistic teaching involves someone outside their church and puts a devastating lifetime burden on the person that collides with them.
I ride my bicycle during the long Winter nights up here and ride with 2 rear flashers. Bicycle flashers can be the simplest solution and I cannot see how this would destroy any Amish life either physically or morally. If something as simple as a visible buggy at night is a moral threat to the Amish way of life then there is something very wrong with their religion. The letter of the law being more important than the Spirit of the Law.
I think the Church elders who refuse proper safety practices are ultimately responsible.
I love the Amish and doing business with them and am even tempered to join them having lived off grid for portions of my life but I see too much Dogma based on the letter rather than the Spirit.
Buggy safety vs. Amish Religious Laws
John H, this is well said and the sentiments of many of the English who live, work, and who are friends and endeared to the Amish.
Amish religious laws with regard to safety as you stated in your post are part of the buggy accident problem indeed.
A bike strobe is a great idea. Highly effective and very affordable. My bike flasher tail lamp was literally only a couple of dollars and being a strobe, highly visible from afar even in daylight. I always have it flashing, even on bike paths with only other bikes. Adding such a light is a trivial matter and should be a minimum requirement. Buggies, bikes, pedestrians, literally anything moving slowly where other traffic is possible should be responsible to be visible. A strobe high atop a whip like I plan for my bike would be even better.
We driving motor vehicles are held responsible for having minimum lights required by law, or we get arrested. A vehicle with no lights to turn on, would and should be towed from the scene and membership on the Amish religion would be no excuse. Visibility is a matter of responsibility to the larger community using the roads and if the law is not requiring it, the Amish ought to to consider it a moral requirement. I’m just sayin.
Amish are Amish
Steadfastly following their laws are what make these people the Amish. I wonder if they are aware of how to use some of these “flashers” you mention for bikes that would make them more visible?
I completely agree that buggies should be well lit and visible! Our buggies have many lights & reflectors,including a flashing strobe light on the back. I see it as my duty to not only protect my family driving in the buggy, but to protect those driving in cars around me from having to deal with what Mr. Ramsey is now forced to deal with, but as others commented, sometimes accidents happen. That doesn’t make it any less tragic, but 100% safety on the road cannot be guaranteed.
My heart and prayers go out to the families — both families. May there be healing for all affected…
John H raises a good question above regarding the potential lifelong burden placed on non-Amish drivers from causing a potentially avoidable fatal accident due to lack of nighttime buggy visibility.
I’ve never heard an Amish perspective from a member of the more conservative communities that use only minimal visibility enhancements in response to this question.
Yoder, have you ever spoken with someone in your community from a more conservative church on this topic? Would the idea that an English driver who kills an Amish person – through no fault of their own, but due to a buggy being barely visible on the road – would that also simply be a part of God’s will to be accepted? Maybe you’ve never heard that perspective from anyone from the plainest churches, but thought I’d ask.
Some Amish districts here in New York have more safety features on their buggies than others. Nevertheless, they’re almost impossible to see at night. These slow moving buggies are all accidents waiting to happen. I know up North first hand the conservative Swartzentruber group fought the orange triangle vehemently. They cited religious reasons first and foremost, but also they argued the triangle is a useless “blot”.
Other Amish and Mennonites are more compliant with English law out of fear. Nevertheless these winding, hilly, narrow, mountain side-ditch roads are pitch dark at night, icy and snowy in winter, and in summer people just drive too fast or are blindsided by weather conditions. And then there are the major roads to town – two lane highways 45-55mph; buggies travel in the shoulder lane that presents great hazard as well. One false move on the part of a car, truck, or horse and the buggy has little or no protection. It’s a wonder why some Amish fight safety logic and refuse to correct the danger for themselves and the English.
Thanks for sharing that Maureen. It’s something I’ve often also wondered. NY has a pretty diverse Amish population, with both the traditional and more progressive communities, which I know you know well.
I think it’s in part due to concern/fear over what allowing one change in this area – where they have historically taken such a strong stand – might lead to in terms of further changes in other aspects of their material lives.
Allow one change here, another change is easier to accept there, because after all we put the SMV triangle on our buggies and that seemed to go okay. Change in itself is its own sort of threat, one that can imperil their souls if taken along far enough…and one that I would think these groups see as a greater danger than the danger created to their mere physical bodies by low visibility on the roads.
And there are plenty of examples of other more progressive Amish communities (and some that used to be Amish and that are now Mennonite or other non-Old Order) to point to as a caution of what might happen if you get too comfortable with the idea of change.
Erik, as usual there’s much reasoning and understanding in your posts. Thank you.
I can’t say I’ve heard it expressed like that, Erik, but my contact with the super conservative groups is less frequent. Most of the time when buggy safety or a bad accident comes up, they tend to shy away from the subject, probably because they can guess how I feel about it.
Driver in Michigaan buggy crash speaks
There is a reason for everything bad that happens. Both families involved will discover that reason in the near future. And, when that time comes, both parties will understand that reason, but for now they feel loss and pain.
Not in this life.
In this life, they may never know the reason.
Driver in Michigan buggy Crash Speaks
I totally disagree with you Debbie. In this life they will know the reason. Bad things happened to me and some friends of mine. In the end we did find out the reason. You see we believe in God.
I think the main focus should be on how to keep this accident from happening again. Would it be possible on crests of hills such as this, or other danger spots, to have a path alongside the road for the buggies to divert to?
Should this elderly man be tested to see if he has all his facilities to be a safe driver? (Vision, reflexes, etc)
A safe idea
They may already be using this. I feel that a battery powered flashing yellow light on the back of the buggy is one of the best safety thing you can do for a slow moving buggy. It shows up day or night. Hills are always BAD and most people will slow for them,and a sign in this area would help. More buggy signs help and I am sure the Amish would be happy to fund them! How many more will have to die before this is taken care of.