From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amish Accident in Christian County, KY

Death of child distresses area residents


I photographed a peaceful Amish farm in southern Christian County, KY, last week (image below.)  I'm really not sure what's growing in the little field behind the white fence. The large-leafed plants looked like tobacco to me. but the plants are much closer together in the rows than tobacco is usually planted around here.  


Last week, a tragic event jarred the quiet Amish community that includes this farm. A three-year-old Amish child was killed when a tractor-trailer hit a buggy, south of Hopkinsville on Highway 41-A. Three other family members were life-flighted to Nashville, and are expected to survive. One of the horses pulling the buggy was killed. The accident took place at about 8:30 p.m. It is not fully dark at that time.

The truck driver who hit the buggy is suspected of being under the influence of some drug, according to the Kentucky New Era's report of the accident.  He is being held in the Christian County jail while urine and blood tests are completed.* Charges against him currently include murder, criminal mischief, and assault.

This is not the first time that Amish buggies have been involved in accidents along Highway 41-A. It's a busy 4-lane highway, but the Amish venture onto it in horse-drawn vehicles, sometimes even after dark. Signs along the highway warn that buggies may be traveling the route, and the buggies nearly always have slow-moving-vehicle warning triangles, and many use battery-powered flashing lights after dark. Despite these precautions, accidents happen, and the accidents are always distressing to the community at large.

Not surprisingly, public sentiment is running high in the aftermath of this tragedy. The Kentucky New Era's report has 85 comments, ranging from sympathy for the Amish to intolerance and outright hatred of them. The accident is also being discussed on the Hoptown Hall (local internet forum).

Personally, I'm in the "everyone-needs-to-be-more-careful" camp. As one KNE commenter wrote, this accident happened to involve a buggy, but any slow-moving vehicle, on the road at that moment, was at risk of being rear-ended by this driver. It could just as easily have been a farmer on a tractor or someone on a bicycle.

*On August 27, 2011, the Kentucky New Era reported that the truck driver's blood and urine tests showed no evidence of drug or alcohol intoxication. The truck driver's attorney, Rick Boling, stated that he believes his client was involved in a simple automobile accident, not reckless driving or wanton endangerment or anything more serious.

5 comments:

Collagemama said...

We all need to be more careful and observant. Motorcyclists are another group that is difficult to see, but they still deserve access to the road.

I am sad for your Amish neighbors and their loss.

Karen in Kentucky said...

Such a sad and needless accident. There was an article in our newspaper (Owensboro KY) yesterday. He has tested positive for being under the influence.
I lost a daughter, aged 21, in a traffic accident involving being rear ended by a semi 10 years go.. I understand this family's grief.

Anonymous said...

I have a vested intrest in this accident, for reasons I would not like to divulge at this time, however, please know that at this time, the driver has not been tested positive for being under the influence. He was given the usual field sobriety test, and failed. The blood and urine test results have not been revealed yet. My heart breaks for everyone involved, but the press jumps at the chance to choose what they want to print, and in every case, that in itself is tragic.

Genevieve said...

Thanks for your comment and the wise words of caution. My blog post is about the public reaction in Christian County to this accident. I certainly have prejudices about drivers who hit "lesser" vehicles on the road, due to the hit and run accident my husband suffered several years ago. Nonetheless, the fact that the newspaper has reported that the truck driver may have been "under the influence" is an important piece of background information to my post.

Anonymous said...

I was concerned about the fact that Karen in Kentucky said " There was an article in our newspaper (Owensboro KY) yesterday. He has tested positive for being under the influence." This puzzles me, as to when "yesterday" was, as this is my brother-in-law, and I would have thought they would have contacted the family before it came out in the newspapers...as I said, my heart is breaking for all involved...

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