HUNTSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- In Amish society, young people between the ages of 16 and 21 are encouraged to explore the outside world before choosing the simple life and that often includes the use of alcohol.
But, a local Amish man, who may have taken the rite of passage known as Rumspringa too far, is accused of running afoul of the law.
Investigators say the man had been drinking when he took the reins of his buggy and put himself and other drivers in danger.
A Geauga County sheriff's deputy was on patrol in Amish country when he noticed a horse-drawn buggy blow through a stop sign in Huntsburg Township.
Concerned that it might be a runaway horse or that the driver might be having a medical emergency, the deputy followed the buggy as the horse pulled into the driveway of a farm.
Inside the buggy, the deputy found a 21-year-old Amish man and a 20-year-old woman and detected what he called the heavy odor of alcoholic beverages and spotted an open beer can on the floor.
The driver told the deputy that he had consumed 10 beers and agreed to submit to field sobriety testing. The deputy noticed that the man was unsteady on his feet and couldn't keep his balance. When the 21-year-old was unable to pass any of the tests to the deputy's satisfaction, he was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence. Testing would later reveal his blood alcohol content was one and a half times the legal limit.
Investigators said the case illustrates that no matter what an impaired person is driving, they pose a threat to themselves and anyone else on the road.
They also said the man, like many Amish, did not have a driver's license. According to court records, he has a prior conviction that is alcohol-related.