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.
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I was talking to a father from a community in Middlefield Ohio and he was complaining that his son and daughter had hosted a party in the barn and hadn’t picked up the beer cans that were strewn all over the barn. I honestly think that when you have a minimum drinking age, young people are more apt to abuse it because it’s forbidden. In countries where there is no minimum drinking age, it’s not a big deal and teens don’t sneak around getting drunk.
The parents set the example. From an early age we teach our children what the Bible says on drunkenness. And as parents, we are to set the example for our children. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s evening meal, wine was passed, representing the blood he was going to shed in our behalf. He turned water into wine at a marriage feast. So moderation, as Christians, is necessary not just in alcohol but in other things we choose to do as well. Love and commendation for our young ones is the key to happy family life.
The parties with drinking and sometimes drug use is common. As noted in this story, you might only hear about it when it makes the news.
Many parents are aware and let it happen. They might have partied when they were younger so they don’t think much of it. Some may say the right things like it should stop. But turn around and look the other way when it happens.
I think some people see the Amish clothing and buggy and are surprised by these stories. And I’m thinking, this is the norm for some. Some even post pictures of the parties on social media.