Drunk Driver Who Killed 4 Amish Children Will Serve 3.5 to 15 Years

Two years ago, three Amish children lost their lives on a road in southern Michigan, having been rear-ended by a drunk driver while traveling by buggy. The driver has now been sentenced. From WMMT:

COLDWATER, MI (WNWN/WTVB) – A Fremont, Indiana man was ordered to serve between 42 months and 15 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections on Wednesday in Branch County Circuit Court after he entered a no contest plea to a charge of O.W.I. Causing Death in connection with a June 2019 crash which took the lives of three children as well as a unborn child.

23-year-old Tyler Frye entered into a plea agreement that was worked out by Prosecutor Zach Stempien and defense attorney Fred Taylor.

In exchange for Frye’s plea, all other charges were dismissed by prosecutors. Frye was given credit for 14 days already served in the Branch County Jail. He remanded immediately to the Department of Corrections.

Photo: Don Reid/The Daily Reporter

In addition to the other injured members of the family, there appears to have been a fourth fatal victim, which wasn’t evident at the time of the crash:

Michigan State Police said at the time of the crash that 6-year-old Lillian Graber, 4-year-old Moses Graber and 2-year-old Jacob Graber died after a pickup truck driven by Frye hit the back of their Amish horse-drawn carriage on Kelley Road south of Lester Road.

The mother of the fatal victims was pregnant and lost her baby. She along with another child were seriously injured.

At the time of our original post on this, reader CoraVee wrote:

This happened a few miles from where I live. I know the Amish family and the family of the driver, although neither family very well. Just think how you would feel if your son did this. The Fryes are a Christian family, attending my church, a very solid, Bible teaching, loving church. Imagine if your child did this, and don’t say it would be impossible (unless you don’t have kids.) There but for the grace of God go any of us. Just pray for every single person involved–imagine being the emergency personnel, for instance. This is hard on the whole community which encompasses Branch and Hillsdale counties, MI, Steuben Co IN and happened only a few miles from Williams Co, OH.

God have His hand of mercy on the Graber family as well as the Frye.

I’m no judge, but I am frankly surprised at the length of this sentence, especially on the lower end. Though there is also the lifelong sentence of knowing you caused the deaths of four young lives that this young man will serve. I appreciate CoraVee’s words here.

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    1. John Phelan

      Death of 4 Amish Children

      Yet another sad case of a drunk driver killing, effectively, 4 very young Amish children who will never have the life God planned for them because of one young man’s blatant disregard for the rules of vehicle operation.

      This has become an all too familiar theme over the past few years. And more often than not, the drivers are impaired. States where there are Amish settlements should pass tougher laws to deal with incidents like this. They won’t though because they lack the courage to take on that fight. And it’s likely that these events will continue.

      I think of Mrs. Graber waking up to the news that she had lost 3 young children and the unborn one she was carrying. I can’t even imagine how devasting that had to be. And all because of Mr Frye’s carelessness.

      I hope they give him enough time inside to think long and hard about the fact that he ruined a family.

    2. Catherine A Nordwall

      Drunk driver

      Having been born and raised in Hershey,PA most of my life, the Amish are incredible people. They are the most kindest and God fearing people I have ever known. I can only pray for these children and their family.

    3. Terrie coc

      I know the Amish are very forgiven people but I think he should have to get more time after all he took 4 lives.

    4. Life Sentence

      The Graber family is serving a life sentence as four of their children were killed. My heart breaks for them. My heart breaks for the family of the driver but he should have to pay a much higher price for the death of four little kids and seriously injuring two others. He should be responsible for their hospital bills, as well, since he was the one responsible for their injuries. We need better laws on the books.

    5. David Ufkes

      In Illinois plea deal or not this guy would had received at least 10 years. The Amish are bigger than me, they will forgive this man even though they lost all their children because of him.

    6. Judge Not

      It is not for us to cast judgment for sure as we do not. God gave us each a conscience that we cannot hide or run from.
      The hurt and pain from such a devastating loss will be felt not just by relatives and extended family and friends but also by the same of this man who made such a outrageous mistake by drinking and driving.
      On is last day of life he will meet his God and then again judgement as for all of us will have its day.
      Only God knows the heart of man. Only God sees deep into the reasons that bring each of us our courses in life and how those courses altered not just our life but the lives of others.
      God hold you all. May his blessing fall upon you and give all of you the peace that will give you reprieve from the actions that altered all your lives.

    7. Justice Served

      It’s about time someone when to prison for after drinking and driving. All too often the courts are lenient. Using diminished thought processes as a defense is ludicrous, but this is what most drunk drivers do. I have seen where some individuals have been cited for DUI as many as a dozen time and have still been able to keep their driver’s license. On the other hand there have been individuals whose licenses have been taken away…but they still drive – sometimes even drunk. If the laws for DUI were more stringent, maybe some of the accidents caused by drunk drivers would be reduced also.