Like all other drivers across the country, Pennsylvania motorists are advised to keep an eye out for pedestrians, bikers and users of other non-motorized vehicles. But our state is one of several where motorists may encounter vehicles that are bigger than bikes but slower than cars. Pennsylvania’s Amish and Mennonite communities rely heavily on horse-drawn buggies to get around. And it’s the responsibility of other drivers to be aware of these vehicles and avoid crashing into them.
Unfortunately, collisions between cars and buggies do happen, and are often fatal. This was the case in a recent car accident in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Last week a young Mennonite couple were returning home from a grocery shopping trip in their horse-drawn buggy just before 10:30 p.m. They were in Maidencreek Township when an SUV suddenly rear-ended the buggy. Both occupants of the buggy were violently thrown to the ground. The husband and wife were subsequently rushed to a nearby hospital.
The woman, who had suffered severe head and neck injuries, died about 90 minutes later. Preliminary reports stated that she was pregnant with the couple’s child and was due in January. Her husband, survived and was later listed in good condition.
The driver of the SUV didn’t suffer any injuries in the crash. He told police that he didn’t see the buggy until it was too late. The fact that the accident occurred after dark may have hindered his vision, but the buggy was equipped with working headlights and taillights, which are required by law.
Although horse-drawn buggies may not be as common in Berks County as in other areas of Pennsylvania, drivers across the state are responsible for avoiding crashes with slower-moving vehicles. The survivor of this particular crash may choose to pursue compensation for his wife’s death and that of their unborn child, considering that the other driver should have seen the buggy well in advance and slowed down to avoid such a devastating crash.
Source: WFMZ.com, “Blandon woman dies in crash between horse-drawn buggy, SUV,” Oct. 23, 2012