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Sunday Night Sees Three Separate Horse-and-Buggy Accidents

Steve Wagner

Horse-and-buggy crashes are not exactly common in the United States. In areas with high Amish populations, however, horse-and-buggy accidents occur more frequently. Still, the three separate accidents on Sunday night are a cause for concern. Two women were killed in the first accident, with serious injuries resulting from two of the three crashes.

Just before 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night, an accident involving a horse-and-buggy and a pickup truck left two dead near Indiana 37 and Notestine Road. 18-year-old Rebecca Graber of Grabill and 16-year-old Michelle Graber of Fort Wayne died at the scene of the accident due to blunt force trauma caused by the accident. Two men were also taken to the hospital, suffering critical injuries. The driver of the pickup truck fled the scene, and the license plates on the truck turned up as registered to a different vehicle. Fort Wayne and New Haven police are searching for the driver and requesting any information the public may have.

Shortly after the first accident, a second horse-and-buggy was involved in a crash just a mile to the east on Notestine Road. Emergency responders were called to the scene, but fortunately, the occupants of that horse-and-buggy suffered only minor injuries. A third crash took place around 10:30 p.m. on Doty Road, with one person taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Indiana Home to Large Amish Population

There are over 300,000 Amish in North America. It’s a growing population according to Amish Studies, a website developed by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. According to the most recent updates to their Amish population statistics, the yearly population increase for the last year was almost 3%.

Despite the large land mass of North America, the Amish population is largely centered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Together, these three states house 2/3 of the entire Amish population of the continent. Interestingly, Indiana ranks third of the three states when looking simply at the size of the Amish populations in each; however, when looking at the Amish population as a percentage of the total number of people, Indiana is number one. A majority of Indiana’s Amish population lives in northeast Indiana in the region surrounding Elkhart and Fort Wayne. The location of these three horse-and-buggy accidents is the heart of Indiana Amish country.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana are all interested in addressing roadway safety for Amish residents who drive horse-and-buggies, but it’s a complicated task. Many of the possible solutions are viewed as infringing upon the Amish way of life. It’s a delicate subject that requires careful collaboration and consideration of alternatives.

At Wagner Reese, we hope everyone will be careful and watch for our Amish fellow residents on the roadways. Horse-and-buggy accidents often rely on the care and patience of motor vehicle drivers, but this should be a simple task in most cases. If you or someone you know is injured in a horse-and-buggy crash, you can feel comfortable calling us for legal help. We have decades of experience serving vehicular accident victims throughout Indiana, and we will approach your case with care and respect. Call us today to get started with a FREE consultation: (888) 204-8440.


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