HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police are warning drivers to pay special attention on the road following a deadly buggy crash in Barry county.
Police say a father and son were killed Tuesday around 7:20 p.m. after a car collided with two Amish carts and a horse, marking the second deadly crash involving a buggy this year.
“It was a horrific, sad day for all parties involved. What happened is the driver of the vehicle was going up a hill and the sun was just right to where it was just underneath the visor of her car there,” said Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.
A sunny drive ended in a tragic and deadly car crash that killed the two Amish family members and injured a third teenager.
“She had sunglasses on and lost sight of the road and she was coming up over the hill and she saw something black and that’s when she struck the vehicle,” Leaf said.
A 40-year-old father and his 14-year-old son, whose names have not been released, were killed while driving two Amish carts with a horse on Cloverdale and East Guy road in Maple Grove Township.
Sheriff Leaf said a driver in a Volkswagen Tiguan was heading west when she hit two westbound Amish carts carrying three people.
“They are lightweight carts and there is not much to them so it wouldn’t take much to damage one of those carts,” said Leaf.
The father and son from Nashville, Michigan were pronounced dead at the scene. A 17-year-old from Nashville was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the car was not hurt.
“As she was slowing down, she saw something black and that is when she just got over the hill,” according to the sheriff.
Leaf said there are Amish buggy signs posted on roads in Barry County and he urges the public to be extremely thoughtful and cautious when driving near Amish communities.
“The Amish have done really, really well on putting the reflective placards on there and then they got the red flashing, but you also have to be aware that these sulkies most of the time do not have that so it’s your responsibility as a driver to maintain your vehicle under control at all times,” said Leaf. “You have to wait for that buggy to crest or you get a passing zone to pass them, or a lot of times they will pull over and let you pass.”
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michelle Robinson also has tips for drivers near Amish communities.
“Especially right now, we are entering the fall harvest season, and we always want motorists to be aware of slow moving vehicles. Slow down, make sure you give them enough room, almost like you were treating it like a bicycle. Don’t try to speed past them or pass them on a hill, or on a curve where you can’t see what’s in front of them,” said Lt. Robinson with MSP’s 6th District.
The funerals for the father and son are expected this Saturday.
Information will be released on what routes drivers should avoid in Hastings and Nashville during the funerals, which are expected to bring out a large number of Amish drivers.
Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf says thoughts and prayers are with the families and the Amish community.