Last year seems to have been a particularly bad one for children in buggy accidents. For example, we saw two separate accidents in Michigan which took the lives of three children in each case. It’s now been decided that the driver in one of the accidents will not be charged:
DETROIT (AP) — An elderly motorist whose SUV slammed into the back of a horse-drawn buggy on a southern Michigan road, killing three Amish children from the same family, will not be charged, a prosecutor’s office said Wednesday.
Because of his age, the coronavirus pandemic and his lack of a criminal history, it’s unlikely that Ronald Ramsey, 84, would spend time in jail if he were charged and convicted in the Sept. 18, 2019, collision, the Eaton County prosecutor’s office said.
Here’s what happened in September 2019:
The three siblings — ages 8, 10 and 13 — were killed and their 6-year-old brother was hurt when their buggy was struck on a road near Charlotte, about 105 miles northwest of Detroit. They were heading home from school at the time.
The buggy was properly marked with lights and a slow-moving vehicle triangle, and it was on right side of the road when it was struck. One of the children was wearing a reflective safety vest.
Ramsey, of Vermontville, was travelling 60 mph in a 55 mph zone and told investigators that he didn’t see the buggy until his Chevy Equinox hit it.
“I relive that every day, especially with three little ones gone,” Ramsey told The Associated Press during a phone call Wednesday. “I can’t help but relive it.”
Ramsey said he no longer drives.
Ramsey did not face very serious charges, in any case – misdemeanor counts. The most he would have spent in jail is one year. Though he was going slightly above the speed limit, this was not a case of drunk-driving, hit-and-run, or reckless driving, as has been seen in other cases (such as the other accident linked at top, in which an intoxicated driver claimed three children’s lives).
The prosecutor’s office explained the reasoning behind not charging him:
“The decision to not charge Ronald Ramsey for the crash is not a statement about his criminal culpability, rather a decision that charging him would not be likely to result in any additional sanction or punishment,” the prosecutor’s office said.
In other words, the decision is not about whether he is or is not legally responsible, but reflects the unlikelihood of him receiving further punishment (beyond his driver’s license being suspended).
Ramsey spoke about the accident last year, expressing his misery and regret. He said he had received cards from the Amish community, including relatives of the family, and appreciated that he was “included in their prayers.”
The children’s parents were consulted before the decision was made to not charge Ramsey was made, it said.
Another report says that “The decision reached today was made in consultation with the family, and takes into consideration their wishes.”
Finally, there was this, from the prosecutors’ official statement (no longer online):
The loss of three beautiful children is an unimaginable tragedy, and our hearts still break for the family. Their grace during this incident has been truly remarkable. May peace continue to be with them as they move forward. Let the deaths of these children serve as a reminder to use care while driving, and take care of one another.