ROOT – The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether speed was a factor in the fatal crash Tuesday night between a pickup truck and an Amish mule-drawn hay wagon.
The collision occurred at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Route 162, between Currytown and Darrow roads.
Deputies said a pickup truck driven by Brett G. Taylor, 57, of Fultonville, collided with an Amish hay wagon operated by Joel K. Glick, 49, of Sprakers.
The Rural Grove Volunteer Fire Department, the Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps and sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the scene of the crash, but were unable to save Glick, who suffered fatal injuries from the crash. Glick was pronounced dead at the scene by county Deputy Coroner District No. 2 Christopher Hanley.
Sheriff Jeff Smith said the crash is under investigation, specifically to determine if speeding was a factor in the crash. Smith said the pickup truck hit the hay wagon from the rear and Glick was killed from injuries suffered in the collision. The mules were not injured, he said.
Smith said the wagon did have the triangle-shaped, slow-moving vehicle sticker required by law, but he said there are significant risk factors involved with slow Amish farm equipment at night, as well as modern farm equipment if it is not equipped with lights.
“I would say, unequivocally, that two of the contributing factors are: no lights on the vehicle at all, and the speed differential between the hay wagon and the vehicle,” Smith said. “The wagon was full of big, heavy, round hay bales. It was driving on rims — no rubber, no tires — being pulled by two mules with a slight [upward gradient] to the road. So, our best guess was it was going about 4 or 5 miles an hour, and let’s say the truck was going 55 miles per hour … The closing distance between 5 and 55 miles per hour is extremely fast.” A news release from the sheriff about the accident said the truck struck the wagon. Taylor was not injured in the accident.
Smith said over the course of his career in law enforcement and emergency management in Montgomery County, he can recall a number of accidents involving motor vehicles and Amish buggies, although not typically hay wagons. He said this is the only fatal vehicle accident involving an Amish person in the local area that he can recall.
According to the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, New York state currently has the fifth-largest Amish population, with an estimated 18,575 Amish residents spread out over 55 settlements, which is tied with Pennsylvania for the second highest number of total Amish settlements among states, with only Ohio having more at 61.
Smith said Montgomery County has a large Amish community, although he’s uncertain exactly how many members there are.
Montgomery County Public Health Director Sara Boerenko said the county is required to track the number of Amish children in the public school system from kindergarten through eighth grade, and currently there are 530 enrolled in Montgomery County.
Smith said Amish people are not required to carry insurance on their farm vehicles because they aren’t motorized.
“Usually, at least our experience has been, the Amish are very cooperative whenever they are involved in an accident, and they try to take care of the situation,” he said. “I don’t think they want to be a problem for anyone else when an accident happens.”
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