5 remain hospitalized after deadly buggy crash

Montcalm County

EVERGREEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police say five people, two adults and three children, remained in the hospital Monday following a deadly buggy crash in Montcalm County.

Police said a truck heading east on Condensary Road in Evergreen Township, southeast of Sheridan, rear-ended the buggy just after 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The buggy was in a heap when emergency crews came upon the scene.

The buggy was carrying nine people from the same family. Three children — a 7-year-old girl, 9-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy — were killed.

On Monday, MSP released updated conditions of the surviving family members:

  • The father, 40-year-old Paul R. Martin, was in stable condition at Hurley Medical Center in Flint.
  • The mother, 34-year-old Judith M. Martin, was in critical condition at Butterworth Hospital.
  • Three boys – ages 8, 3 and 2 – were in stable condition at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
  • An 18-month-old girl had been released from Carson City Hospital.

Authorities are not releasing the names of the children involved in the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those that are involved here,” 1st Lt. Kevin Sweeney of the MSP Lakeview Post said.

The Martins, an Old Order Mennonite family, own a dairy farm a mile and a half away from where the crash happened. On Monday, family members and neighbors were working on the farm to help the family.

One of Paul Martin’s cousins told 24 Hour News 8 that Judith Martin was in surgery for four hours Sunday night. She was still listed in critical condition the next day.

Investigators are working to figure out what caused the crash. Family members said the Martin’s buggy should have been visible and covered in reflective gear, as required by law. Police are looking into whether the morning sun or fog could have affected the pickup driver’s vision. They don’t believe drugs or alcohol played a role.

The crash happened just two weeks after Tiffany Christiansen was sentenced in another buggy-related crash in Montcalm County. She was ultimately ordered to serve community service after rear-ending a buggy near Carson City in March, killing one of two children inside.

“We do have more individuals riding a horse or who may have a horse and buggy type of situation, so absolutely we have to be extra mindful here,” 1st Lt. Sweeney said of rural Montcalm County. “There’s so many people out on the road outside of just cars. We mention bicyclists and buggies and people walking. Just be extra careful.”

The driver of the pickup, a Sheridan resident, was not injured. Troopers said he has been cooperating with the investigation. It is unclear if he will face criminal charges in connection to the crash. 24 Hour News 8 could not reach him Monday for comment.

>>Photos provided by The Daily News: Deadly buggy crash in Montcalm County

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