Death Of Amish Teen Daniel Stolzfus Latest In Series Of Buggy-Related Traffic Mishaps

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An Amish teen in Indiana was killed last Thursday when he apparently fell asleep at the reins of his horse-drawn buggy an drifted into oncoming traffic.

The accident is the 10th involving an Amish-operated horse-drawn buggy in September 2013 alone, throughout Amish areas nationwide.

Eighteen-year-old Daniel X. Stoltzfus Jr. was on his way to help a friend work the land when he lost control of his carriage on the two-lane rural Highway 421, crossing the double-yellow line into the path of a truck driven by Wilma Asher, 53, of Versailles, Ind., where Stolzfus also called home.

The youth moved to Indiana with his family and, reportedly, 20 other Amish families a little more than four years ago, to seek a more rural setting than the Kentucky locale where they previously lived.

According to his obituary, Stolzfus ran a business, Cedar Valley Horseshoeing, where he shoed and trained horses.

Like most Amish buggies that travel on public roads, Stolzfus’s buggy (similar to the one pictured) was equipped with electric safety lights, front and back, which were in good working order at the time of the crash.

The collision with the truck killed Stolzfus’s horse and sent the young Amish man flying into the road where, police say, he was run over by two more cars.

"There has been an influx of Amish in Ripley County," Indiana State Trooper Ben Bastin said."This means there's a bigger chance for accidents."

"What happened (Thursday) night is going to happen again and again and again because there's a lot of semi traffic through here. You know, 60 mile per hour plus," local resident Danny Matzet said to local WCPO News. (See the station's report on the accident below.)

Serious, even fatal accidents involving Amish buggies and modern automobiles are not uncommon throughout areas where Amish populations reside. According to the web site Mission to Amish People, the accident that claimed the lives of Stolzfus and his horse was the 10th this month.

In Michigan on September 17, three Amish people were injured when a van driven by a 79-year-old man who said the sun was in his eyes rear-ended their buggy, throwing them into a ditch on the side of the road.

On September 11, a 13-year-old Amish boy died and an 8-year-old was severely hurt when their buggy drifted lanes while coasting down a hill on a rural Pennsylvania road and struck a pickup truck.

SOURCES: WCPO News, Lancaster Online, Mission to Amish People