Two Amish Children Killed After Horse Allegedly “Bolts” In Front Of Car (UPDATED)

Very sad news from northern Michigan. Via 9and10news.com:

Two children were killed and one other suffered serious injuries after an accident Monday morning involving a passenger vehicle and an Amish buggy, the Wexford County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said they received a call at 8:15 a.m. about a crash at East 16 Road and North 39 Road. According to a preliminary investigation, a vehicle traveling east on East 16 struck an Amish buggy carrying three children as the buggy pulled into the intersection, heading south on North 39. A person who described themselves as a witness on Facebook said that the horse “bolted” into traffic.

All of the children were thrown from the buggy in the crash, and the sheriff’s office said a 11-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.

This is the area of Manton in Wexford County. It appears there were three children in this buggy. I’d assume the oldest, the 11-year-old girl, was driving. A nine-year-old girl survived the crash and was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries. This is the Facebook post referenced above from a woman named Kyle-Courtney Harmon:

I was there I’m still shaking it’s been hours – the pony BOLTED across 42 in front of the driver.
This was a freak accident because of an animal.
I was with the girl that survived until Amish came, rubbing her head and talking to her.
I’m praying for her and the families I am also praying for the driver and his family and I hope you all will too.

Crash location in Wexford County

Heartbreaking scene as she describes it. Michigan has sadly seen multiple accidents which have taken Amish children’s lives in recent years, including two accidents in 2019 claiming six young lives.

This accident in Wexford County is one in which it appears the automobile driver was not at fault. Prayers for the nine-year-old girl, her family, and hope she pulls through.

UPDATE – March 22: There is no further word on the girl who survived the accident. There is however a news story about a local man named Edward Gilde who, following this tragic accident, wants to make travel for local Amish safer.

Amish buggy in dip in the road, half-visible
Dangerous dips in the road are visible in this image from the 9and10news video report. Gilde aims to help Amish avoid traveling along roads like these

To that end, he is offering to provide a portion of his land for a buggy lane which would allow Amish to bypass a dangerous stretch of road. However, this offer would depend on the county pitching in as well. From 9and10news.com (video report at the link):

“Our plan is to provide alternatives for the Amish to be able to get into Manton and traverse our roads out here without incurring such a traffic hazard,” Gilde admits.

Gilde is offering to open up a trail that cuts through a portion of his property and would give the Amish a shortcut off of M-42 and into town.

However, Gilde says the trail would only work if the county changes a portion of 18 Road from seasonal and begins plowing the road in the winter.

“This way they would be able to get all the way into Manton the back way much safer,” Gilde states.

Mr. Gilde is communicating with both the Amish and the road commission on the matter. Bravo to him for taking the lead in trying to make the roads safer for his Amish neighbors.

Rear view of Amish buggy with orange triangle on road in Michigan
An Amish buggy near the scene of the accident in Wexford County. Image: 9and10news

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    8 Comments

    1. john

      michigan accident

      I’am very familar with the area of the accident several miles west of the locations is Amish store I shop at to get bulk items and baked goods and jams it is very rolling and the cars driver at the time driving east would be looking into the sun just coming up an he may not seen the buggy until the last minute with the horse bolting into the intersection.

    2. Melanie

      So sad..

      My husband and I have been to Pennsylvania, Amish Country a few times and alot of the roads are pretty quiet with fields of crops and I can see if someone was driving too fast but, if you pay attention, I’m pretty sure this would not happen as much. My condolences to the family.

    3. Celeste

      Prayers for the children and their families

      I am so sorry for your loss. My heart and prayers go out to all of you. I also know the pain of losing a child. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are send to you. May God comfort you in this time of sorrow and loss.

      Many cannot understand how it feels and may stumble knowing what to say. You are not alone. I found some comfort in talking about it, but he did not. I was able to find some peace by talking about it with others that had lost their children too. It is so different for everyone and there are no rules.

      I just do what feels right for me and take it moment by moment and day by day. God bless you! Hugs to you! God bless!

    4. M. D.

      Buggy accident in Michigan

      Oh, good Heavens! My heart goes out to everyone involved
      in this horrific accident. My condolences to the families.

      Am I the only one upset over the fact that an 11 yr old “little
      girl” was driving this buggy? I mean, is this normal in the
      Amish community?? At that age, my mother wouldn’t even allow
      me to walk o school alone. And school was just 4 blocks from
      our home!! And that was in the 1980’s. Hopefully officials will
      allow Mr. Gilde to implement his idea of a special lane for the
      Amish in the area. Too bad someone didn’t do this years ago.
      Forgive me, but it seems to me this was preventable . . .

    5. Pamela Miller

      Michigan Buggy Accident

      I was so sorry to hear about this accident. My heart
      and prayers go out to the families.

      I thought the same as the person who commented
      above about an 11 year old driving the buggy. I do
      understand that Amish children learn to drive buggies
      at an early age but that child had to be responsible
      for the safety of the other children which I think was
      asking too much of her. It may be that something
      spooked the horse, which she was not able to control,
      and then, as a result, the horse bolted into traffic.
      How terrible for the people in the car! I do hope
      that safer travel routes will be found.

    6. Larry Kowalski

      I didn’t know we could be so cruel to animals.

    7. Buggy accident

      Prayers and my deepest sympathy to all involved.
      Only way to prevent this from happening is to provide another route for either cars or horse and buggy. I admire and thank the fellow who volunteered to re-route road through his property away from traffic. Thier is something called eminent domain I believe the government can inforce some owners to give up a small section of property to provide safer drive for the Amish away from cars. They shouldn’t share the road being so dangerous not worth the loss of anyone. Something needs to be done.

    8. john

      new road

      I was reading in the article about the gentleman offering part of his land for a new bypass. he mentions it is a seasonal road in this part not of Michigan the road commission for the county has roads that they do not plow for snow in the winter time to save money. In the non snow time they are passable but once the snow hits they are not passable. I hunt in the counties around there and use the seasonal roads quite often and once the snow builds up it is almost impossible to use. All these roads in the area that are not plowed are seasonal roads. This part of Michigan is part of the snowbelt and some years get over 200 inches of snow. so far this year it is not as heavy. So it would be up to the road commision to plow the road for passage