Three children were killed and six members of their family were injured early Sunday after the family’s horse-drawn buggy was rear-ended by a pickup truck in Evergreen Township, MI, according to multiple news reports. Investigators believe the family members are Mennonites.
The fatalities included an 11-year-old boy and two girls, ages 7 and 9, of the Martin family of Sheridan, MI. The three children were pronounced dead at the scene.
The parents of the children are Paul Martin, 40, and Judith M. Martin, 34. Paul is in stable condition at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. Judith is in critical condition at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Three other boys – ages 2, 3 and 8 – are listed in stable condition at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. In addition, Carson City Hospital released an 18-month-old girl. Authorities have not released the names of the children.
Vehicles were traveling in same direction
Troopers were dispatched to the scene of the incident on East Condensary Road near Wood Road at 8:34 a.m. Sunday morning. The two-lane stretch of road in central Michigan’s Montcalm County, near Sheridan, is about an hour’s drive from Lansing.
Both vehicles were eastbound.
Officials: Alcohol, drugs not a factor
The driver of the truck, Brandon King, is a 29-year-old resident of Sheridan. King was uninjured.
Officials said they do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash. An investigation is underway.
King, who is being cooperative with law enforcement, was wearing a seat belt. It is unknown whether safety restraints were available on the buggy.
The buggy ended up in the grass on the side of the road with the passenger compartment separated from its frame and spoked wheels. The pickup suffered extensive damage to the right side of the vehicle, including a shattered windshield.
Mennonites shun modern conveniences
Mennonites, like the Amish, are an Anabaptist sect that most often rely on horses and buggies for transportation, abstaining from automobiles and other modern conveniences.