CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A crash in Cumberland County Sunday night involving a horse-drawn buggy killed two parents and injured their eight children.
Virginia State Police said the crash happened on Route 45 near Davis Lane when a 2005 Toyota Tundra struck a horse-drawn buggy. Ten people were riding in the buggy at the time it was struck.
State police said Barbie Esh of Farmville, died at the scene. Her husband, John Z. Esh, 39, was flown to UVA Medical Center for serious injuries where he later died. Their eight children, ranging in age from 9 months old to 16 years of age, were all transported to nearby hospitals for treatment. Their injuries range from minor to serious.
Virginia State Police told 8News two of the children have now been released from the hospital, but the other 6 remain there.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to this family and their Amish community, which is suffering yet another tragic loss due to a fatal traffic crash,” said Sgt. Eric King of Virginia State Police Area 19, which encompasses Buckingham and Cumberland counties. “Local residents in the Cumberland and Buckingham county region are reminded to be on the look-out for Amish horse-drawn buggies traveling on our highways, Our winding rural roads have blind curves, so we must all comply with posted speed limits and share the road safely and responsibly. “
The driver of the Toyota was Mickel I. Bates, 60, of Farmville. He was not injured in the crash.
Police said Bates initially left the scene but returned. Charges are pending against the man, according to VSP.
William Taylor lives steps away from the intersection.”They just said that there was an accident and that was it. They didn’t have time to talk at all” he said. Police were using his driveway to direct traffic. This was the largest accident he’d seen in front of his home of more than 20 years. “Someone should have seen them or slowed down but obviously it didn’t happen this time,” he said.
The Virginia State Police Appomattox Division Crash Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to assist with the ongoing investigation. According to VSP, the buggy was carrying all of its legally-required signage and lighting when it was hit.
Maria Bryan knows the family and rushed to the scene Sunday night. “The buggy was lying in the ditch and it was not in one piece,” she told 8News.
According to Bryan, the Amish family was on their way back from church and less than a quarter mile from home when they were hit. “We just pray for everybody who was involved and hopefully they will be okay.”
Bryan is now organizing help for the devastated family by collecting food and monetary donations as she says hundreds of their loved ones will be coming in to town to help the children.
“The community will come together and support them and love them. They will take care of one another,” she said.
State police warn drivers in Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte and Halifax counties to proceed with caution around these buggies. They only go about five to eight miles per hour and are legal on all highways statewide.
Stay with 8News for updates.