Triple-Fatal-Buggy Crash in Montcalm County Highlights Greater Need for Roadside Awareness
A Michigan family was headed to their Old Order Mennonite church when they and their horse-drawn buggy were involved in an accident with a Dodge 4×4 pickup truck. The horrific accident took place on a two-lane stretch in central Michigan’s Evergreen Township in Montcalm County, about an hour’s drive from Lansing.
Michigan State Police say the horse and buggy was carrying a family of nine when a 29-year-old man from Sheridan struck the buggy from behind with his truck. Tragically, three children were pronounced dead at the scene while four others, ages 18 months thru 8-years-old survived with injuries, some severe. The parents sustained critical injuries and remain hospitalized. The parents are both expected to recover, but it was reported by family members that they suffered serious brain and spinal injuries.
The driver of the Dodge pickup was not injured, and Michigan State Troopers say he was cooperative and do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved. A formal investigation is underway.
Avoiding a Collision with a Horse-Drawn Buggy
While not nearly as significant as neighboring Indiana or Ohio, Michigan is home to a large Mennonite (and Amish) population. If you’re driving in central or northern Michigan and need to stop for gas in the area, it wouldn’t be unusual to see either a Mennonite or Amish man and his family traveling by horse and buggy. At times, the slower speed of the horse-drawn vehicles may frustrate drivers of faster-moving cars when the buggy backs up traffic on rural roads. But the most common cause of a tragic accident with these small, black, slower buggies is a rear-end collision. Here are some tips on how to avoid one.
- According to Amish America, the typical horse-drawn buggy speed is just five to eight miles per hour. Because of this, vehicles driving at regular posted speed limits will approach a buggy quickly. Horse-drawn buggies may be even slower when pulling heavy loads or when crossing intersections. Slow down and remain aware of how close you really are to the buggy.
- When approaching and passing a horse-drawn buggy, remember that horses are unpredictable and even the most road-safe horse can spook at a fast-moving motor vehicle. Be sure to slow down and give buggies and horse-drawn equipment plenty of room when passing.
- Allow yourself time to recognize and respond when coming upon other vehicles, by leaving space between your vehicle and a buggy stopped at a stop sign or light. A good rule of thumb is to stop your vehicle far enough back so that you can see where the rear wheels of the buggy touch the road.
Know the areas where buggies tend to travel and remain extra cautious. Pay attention to speed limits, buggy lights and hazard signs, and never drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol or while being distracted.
Contact Us Now About Your Buggy Accident
No matter what you might be driving, including a horse-drawn buggy, our attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm are Michigan roadway accident experts. We have represented accident victims for over 40 years. If you have been involved in a crash, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law. Please call The Lee Steinberg Law Firm and speak to our accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your accident case.