Sometimes I refer obliquely to certain Amish communities having a bad reputation for the behavior of their youth or as regards consumption of alcohol. Keeping in mind that Amish communities can be quite different, of course. In many communities, poor behavior from youth is not common or little-tolerated. And different communities have different approaches to alcohol.
That’s all to preface the news of yet another Amish teen in the New Wilmington, PA community getting a DUI charge. This is the third that I’ve seen reported from this community in the past several years. That means there have been more instances of course – these would just be the ones which were caught and reported on.
In 2018 a teen in this community registered a reported 0.47 blood alcohol level after recording a stop sign violation and hitting an SUV while on his way to a wedding. Then earlier this year, a drunk 17-year-old was involved in an accident resulting in “major damage” to the buggy.
So now we have the third recent instance (and perhaps there were others that got past me). This one sounds particularly bad. Via New Castle News Online:
An Amish teen is facing driving under the influence charges after an officer stopped his traveling horse and buggy and reportedly found him passed out inside, according to a police account.
New Wilmington police have charged 19-year-old Enos S. Byler of 129 Leesburg Station Road following the stop that occurred around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 8 on Route 208 in New Wilmington Borough.
According to a criminal complaint, a Westminster College public safety officer notified the police that he had passed the horse and buggy going west and saw a male driver who appeared to be unconscious.
A responding officer unsuccessfully tried to stop the horse and it continued with the passed out driver inside onto North Market Street through a flashing red signal, swerving into the oncoming lane, the report said.
Another buggy driver helped the officer to stop the horse and buggy. The officer woke up the buggy driver after a couple of attempts, noting that he and the buggy smelled of alcohol, the complaint said.
The report said that Byler ignored the officer’s repeated requests and an order for him to get out of the buggy, and the state police were summoned for assistance. The paperwork noted that Byler had a half-case of Coors Light beer in the buggy, and he told police that he had drank nine of them. Byler’s father was called to take the buggy home.
So he was basically passed out drunk in a moving buggy with the unguided horse pulling him through town.
I fairly often share news on accidents where Amish buggies are hit by (sometimes impaired) motor vehicle drivers, often resulting in death. The dangers of being drunk holding the reins of a slow-moving buggy are less than behind the wheel of a car. But they are still dangers, and in this case this kid is lucky his ride didn’t end more violently.
This Amish community has some kind of a problem, which I’d suspect is deep-rooted.