Man and horse killed after Amish buggy and pickup truck collide

VERSAILLES, Ind. -- One man is dead after a horse and buggy collided with a pickup truck late Thursday evening.

Daniel X. Stoltzfus Jr., 18, of Versailles died in the accident. 

Indiana State Police say Stoltzfus was operating what they describe to be an Amish buggy, traveling northbound on U.S. 421 around 10 p.m., when for unknown reasons, the buggy crossed into the southbound lane where it was struck head on by a truck, driven by Wilma Asher, 53, of Versailles. 

The impact killed the horse instantly and ejected Stoltzfus from the buggy into the northbound lanes where police believe he was struck by one or two other vehicles, resulting in the fatal injures. 

Indiana State Police are looking into the safety of the buggy, saying it was equipped with modern features such as LED lights. A trooper saw the buggy about two miles before the scene of the incident, saying he saw lights on and that things seemed fine.

"There has been an influx of Amish in Ripley County," said Master Trooper Ben Bastin, with the Indiana State Police. "This means there's a bigger chance for accidents."

About 20 Amish families moved into the Indiana area from western Kentucky five years ago. Stoltzfus was well-known in his community as a "horse trainer."

The family commented, saying they believe Stoltzfus may have fallen asleep. They do not believe the accident was caused by the horse being "spooked."

Despite that fact, some residents say the believe accidents like these are going to happen more often on Route 421.

"What happened (Thursday) night is going to happen again and again and again because there's a lot of semi traffic through here. You know, 60 mile per hour plus," said Danny Matzet.

Leaders in the Amish community told 9 On Your Side they have no plans to avoid the highway.

No other drivers were injured and the crash remains under investigation.

Family members said funeral services for Stoltzfus are scheduled to take place Saturday.

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9 On Your Side reporter Scott Wegener contributed to this report.

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