One of my biggest nightmares


Accidents between Amish buggies and cars happen.  Way too often.

This summer during a three-month stay in northern Indiana, three fatal accidents occurred.  One happened when a distracted driver hit an Amish man and two sons riding in a pony cart, killing all three.  Another was caused by an Amish Rumspringa-age youth, who attempted to pass in a no-passing zone.  He and the driver he hit were both killed.

That one undoubtedly fueled criticism for wild Amish youth activities, yet in the vast majority of accidents that occur, the Amish come out the losers.

The last one occurred when a van carrying an Amish work crew was struck on the way to work.

I remember returning to visit a family whom I had met earlier in the summer.  The father, who happened to be a part of this crew, was fairly injured, had trouble getting around, but was alive.  His boss, another Amish father I had met a few weeks before the accident, was not so lucky.  And neither was the crew’s English driver.

I hate to write about this but you hear about these things happening all the time.  A teacher was killed walking to school not long ago in Lancaster County.  Another, thankfully non-fatal accident occurred last month in Allen County, Indiana.

This one (article no longer online) is striking, however.  Why?

It’s been ruled a homicide.

Apparently, jurors decided the driver was traveling negligently fast.

I have driven on the road where this accident occurred, just outside of Arthur, Illinois, a number of times;  it is at the very center of the settlement Amish_buggy_at_nightand cuts through a high density of Amish families.

The Arthur Amish use lights and reflectors. Still, it’s amazing how fast you can come up on them, when buggies only travel around 5-8 mph.  This accident occurred in the morning.  The article does not say if the buggy lights were on.  Apparently it was extremely foggy.

Hopefully, people visiting Amish areas will be extra careful.

photos: first 2-Mike Watiker, 3rd-OSU

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    1. I found the same thing last summer in Ohio Amish country: driving near buggies you are going so much faster than they are. You really have to slow waaaayyy down.

    2. People don’t seem to realize how quickly they come up behind a slow-moving vehicle when the automobile is going 70 mph. We have such accidents every now and then, and it is nearly always because of automobile drivers driving too fast and not paying attention to the road signs and the warning lights, reflective strips, and slow-moving vehicle signs on the buggies. It’s very sad.

    3. lynne

      Just 3 and half weeks ago my baby of only 15 was killed because of the Amish in southern Ohio. Their order think it’s a sin to have their buggies marked in anyway and it’s impossible to see them after dark!!! There was 2 on the road one in a buggy and the other with a wagon. They missed the buggy and tried to miss the wagon but lost control and rolled several times. now two 18 year olds may never walk again and my daughter is gone! If it’s a sin to mark their buggies or wagons what is if they cause a death?!? These are the same kids I myself almost hit at 11:00pm drag racing their horse and buggies!!! NO LIGHTS>>>NO NOTHING. Now of course the whole Amish Comm. is hush hush about who the driver of the wagon was. And I’ve been good to these people but I’ve lost any respect I had for them FOREVER…they are covering up a crime!!!!! So not all Amish are good people and I will never forgive them for taking my daughter because of mid-evil believes. Killing is a sin…not lights for gods sakes!!!!!

    4. Amish a danger to car drivers

      Lynne, I am so sorry to hear.

      I agree with your criticism of those lower-order Amish who don’t use sufficient lighting and reflectors.

      In my opinion, in some sense they place custom and cultural practice above the safety of others. In a way I feel this flies in the face of the Christian ideal to ‘love your brother’. By refusing sufficient markings, they not only consciously choose to endanger themselves, but as you now know too well, the rest of the world also. Of course, they would view it as a matter of religious belief, ie placing faith in God over man-made symbols, and also the idea of not being conformed to the world. Most Amish are able to make this accommodation though, recognizing the safety issues at stake, while still feeling that they haven’t betrayed their principles on the religious/conformity issues.

      Prayers for you, your daughter and the ones that were injured in what must be a time of great pain. Again, I know it doesn’t mean anything, but I’m so sorry to hear this.

    5. louis

      To lynne
      I am sorry for the lose of your daughter but i think you are putting the blame on the wrong persons, the problem i have is how in gods name do you miss a buggy and another wagon and roll a FEW TIMES ?? I am sorry i am older i been around for a long time and seen alot of things in this world, to roll a few times the 18 year old driver was GOING WAY TO FAST !!! you dont just roll like that, sorry to say if they were going the speed limit they would all be here !!! Speed kills