HAMPTON — Three members of the Amish community were transported to Glens Falls Hospital after their horse and buggies were struck by an SUV on Tuesday evening in Hampton.
The accident occurred at around 5:50 p.m. on State Route 4 near Golf Course Road.
Hampton Fire Chief Matthew Sears said the two buggies were headed from Fair Haven, Vermont toward Whitehall. The Toyota SUV was coming up behind the buggies, which were traveling on the side of the road near a ditch. There were four people in each buggy.
Sears said the sun was possibly in the male driver’s eyes as he came up over the hill.
He tapped his brakes when he realized he was approaching the buggies, but it was too late.
“He rear-ended the first buggy, which drove it into the second buggy. He drove over the top of that buggy,” he said.
Four Amish in that vehicle were struck, according to Sears.
When firefighters arrived, they got them out of the buggies and into ambulances, according to Sears.
“Everybody was talking. There’s probably some broken legs,” he said.
Everyone was checked out for bumps and bruises and the ones who had serious injuries were taken to the hospital, according to Sears.
He said both buggies were totaled. The Toyota was also likely totaled as well because the driver had gone off into the ditch after the crash. The driver was not injured.
The animals were not harmed, according to Sears.
State police identified the driver 31-year-old Whitehall resident Thomas Morcombe.
Sears does not believe speed was a factor, but just bad timing.
“The sun’s right there at that time of day is right in the evening,” he said.
John Raber, 56, was driving the first buggy and 40-year-old Danny Byler was driving the second buggy, according to police. Both men live in Whitehall.
Sears said he believes the Amish were on their way back from helping someone in their community move in Fair Haven.
In addition to Hampton, the other fire departments that responded were Whitehall and Fairhaven, Vermont. Multiple EMS agencies were dispatched to the scene including Skenesborough, Fort Ann and Fairhaven and Poultney from Vermont.
Sears said when the call was received, he asked for mutual aid from multiple departments given the severity of the accident.
“We had to close down the road for about two hours to clean up debris and get the horses loaded,” he said.