Parents killed, eight children injured in Virginia truck vs. buggy crash


CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC/WFXR) — Two parents were killed and their eight children are injured following a crash Sunday night involving a horse-drawn buggy in Cumberland County.

Virginia State Police say the crash happened on Route 45 near Davis Lane when a 2005 Toyota Tundra hit a horse-drawn buggy on Sunday, Oct. 17. Ten people were riding in the buggy at the time it was struck.

One person was killed at the scene; three were flown to UVA Medical Center with serious injuries; and six others were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for injuries ranging from minor to serious, according to police.

Authorities say 38-year-old Barbie Esh of Farmville, died at the scene of the crash. Her husband, 39-year-old John Z. Esh, was seriously injured and flown to UVA Medical Center, which is where he later died.

Their eight children, ranging in age from nine months to 16-years-old, were all transported to nearby hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to serious. 

“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 1st 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.”

Police say the 60-year-old male driver of the Toyota was not hurt and initially left the scene, but returned. Charges are reportedly pending against the man.

”They just said that there was an accident and that was it. They didn’t have time to talk at all,” said William Taylor, who lives steps away from the intersection.

Police were using Taylor’s 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 state police, the buddy 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 WFXR’s sister station.

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,” said Bryan.

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.

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 in the Commonwealth.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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