A southern Michigan Amish community is grieving today over the death of one of their youngest church members, 10-month-old Michael Steury Jr. This is one of these stories that is just wrenching on all sides. Reading the first-hand accounts from the woman whose mini-van plowed into the back of the Steury’s buggy it sounds like a freak accident, something almost unavoidable other than maybe she was following too closely. She claims she certainly wasn’t speeding or being reckless. Read her account here. Her account differs from what witnesses say. Meanwhile the Steurys are grieving and left to ponder what happened. Hard to sort out what happened, but the end result is a tragedy. Photo: buggy travels through the Camden community in southern Michigan, courtesy of the Jackson Citizen-Patriot.
Accidents like these bring up all sorts of issues: should there be seat-belts in buggies? In this case, perhaps, they would have helped. But in many cases when you have a two ton car crashing into a buggy you want the occupants to be thrown out, that is often their best hope of survival is to be thrown out onto something soft. An Old Order Mennonite buggy-maker once told me that he constructs the buggies so that they will collapse on impact and the passengers hopefully will be ejected safely. Would have this accident happened if there had been an orange safety triangle on the back of the buggy? Sounds to me like it probably still would have….by the woman’s own admission she saw the buggy there.
This accident occurred in Hillsdale County, Michigan. The Amish population in this area is quite conservative and they do not display the orange safety triangle. So in return County Commissioners won’t erect the yellow horse-and-buggy signs on area roads (seems a little childish on the part of the commissioners).