Witness helped injured Amish man after Van Buren County buggy and van collision

Witness helped injured Amish man after Van Buren County buggy and van collision. (WWMT/Courtesy Van Buren County Sheriff Office)

A horse was killed and an Amish man hospitalized after a van collided with a horse and buggy in Van Buren County on Tuesday.

Steve Stassek was working at his shop in Bloomingdale when suddenly a wreck between an Amish buggy and a van happened right in front of his property.

Stassek said, “Just a loud crash and of course a horse whining and kind of a big thud.”

Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott says a 67-year-old Amish man from Bloomingdale left a supply store and was heading north by horse and buggy while a man in a silver Ford Econoline van was traveling south.

The man in the van crossed the centerline and collided with the buggy. The horse died instantly and the Amish man was thrown from his seat.

Stassek said he sprung into action.

He said, “I was right there by the gentleman and he was in a ditch and he wasn't breathing right at first, but kind of rolled him to his back and he started breathing, but he was unconscious the whole time.”

Abbott said, “There was nothing that the buggy driver could have done different, as far as markings or anything, he was totally innocent in this whole thing.”

Abbott said the Amish and drivers share 46th Street daily.

He said, “Where the accident happened is a straightaway-there's no obstruction. It's just one of those you look at and it's sad that it happened. You can't wrap your mind around it based on where it took place.”

Abbott says it's possible the man in the van could face charges and while investigating, he has been speaking with the Amish community.

“You can tell they were devastated.” He said, “Amish community is a very right community as a whole, so it's going to have a big ripple effect throughout the whole community.”

Abbott said they'll be sending this case to the prosecutor’s office once the investigation wraps up. They are waiting on a blood test from the man in the van. He was not hurt.

They don't believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

Stassek wanted to send a message for everyone traveling the road in front of his shop

He said, “If people could just slow down and pay attention.”