HOMER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A serious crash that ejected a family of three from an Amish buggy is under investigation.
The crash happened on State Route 301 in Homer Township just after 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Lieutenant William Haymaker of the Ohio Highway Patrol says the sun had just set but it was still light out. According to Haymaker, both a pickup truck and the buggy were travelling north near the intersection of Black River School Road when the collision happened.
“The crash investigation indicates at this time that there were no skid marks not really any signs of an attempt to stop on behalf of the pickup truck,” said Haymaker on Wednesday.
The impact destroyed the buggy.
“According to investigators at the scene there really was no piece bigger than say a three by three section left of the Amish buggy, the pickup truck pretty much made a severe impact on the buggy and drove right through it,” added Haymaker
Joseph Swartzentruber, 25, of Spencer, Ohio was driving the buggy. His wife, Katie Swartzentruber, 23, and his daughter, Lizzie Swartzentruber, 2, were the passengers.
All three were taken to an Akron area hospital with very serious injuries, according to investigators.
The adults were listed in critical condition on Wednesday.
Lizzie Swartzentruber was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital where she remained in the Intensive Care Unit a day after the accident.
The driver of the pickup, a 28-year-old Cleveland man, was not hurt in the crash.
Kathy Bowen, a friend of the Swartzentrubers, lives on 301 not far from the accident scene. She admits worrying about those kind of accidents because some people drive carelessly on the two lane road.
“Sometimes pretty fast,” said Bowen, who added “they don’t realize there are Amish buggies on the road if they are not from the area.”
“It was like I didn’t fall asleep ’til very late last night, its very scary,” concluded Bowen.
The Highway Patrol says the horse pulling the Swartzentruber’s buggy had to be put down because of its injuries.
The pickup truck was disabled and had to be towed from the scene.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but charges are pending upon review by the Medina County prosecutor’s office.
“It’s unknown what this driver was doing at the time just before the crash. I don’t know if he was distracted but with any driver again we just want to get the message out that when driving you need to take everybody’s safety into concern,” said Haymaker