Driver won’t face charges in deadly Eaton County buggy crash

Michigan

EATON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS)— 83-year-old Ronald Ramsey of Vermontville will not face charges, in relation to a deadly crash with an Amish Horse drawn buggy, September 18, 2019.

The collision resulted in the death of three of the four children on board the buggy.

After consultation with the parents of the children, and in consideration of the applicable punishments that would be available, the decision has been made not to issue criminal charges against Ramsey for the crash.

An investigation of the crash revealed that the four young Amish siblings were traveling
westbound on Vermontville Highway near Ainger Road in a horse-drawn buggy. The children, who
were between the age of 6 and 13 at the time, were traveling home from school when they were struck from behind by a silver Chevrolet Equinox operated by Ronald Ramsey.

Investigators found that the buggy was properly marked with lights and a slow-moving vehicle triangle, that one of the children was wearing a reflective safety vest, and that the buggy was travelling on the right side of the roadway when it was struck.

The collision occurred in the westbound lane, the weather was clear, the roadway was dry, and Ramsey was traveling 60 mph in a 55 mph zone. Ramsey told investigators that he
did not see the buggy until he ran into it.

The Eaton County Prosecutors office made the following statement on the decision not to charge.

“After a review of the investigation reports, it is clear that there is probable cause to support charging Ramsey with three counts of Moving Violation Causing Death. The offense is a one-year misdemeanor, meaning that a person convicted of the offense could be sentenced to up to 24 months of probation and up to 12 months in jail. In addition, the driving privileges of an offender would be suspended for 12 months. Further, the sentences for the three counts would be concurrent to each other, meaning that they would be served at the same time.”

“The decision reached today was made in consultation with the family, and takes into consideration their wishes. The loss of three beautiful children is an unimaginable tragedy, and our hearts still break for the family. Their grace during this incident has been truly remarkable. May peace continue to be with them as they move forward. Let the deaths of these children serve as a reminder to use care while driving, and take care of one another.”

“Based on Ramsey’s age, lack of criminal history, and the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is
unlikely that he would be incarcerated if convicted. Rather, it is likely that a conviction would only result in a license sanction, something that has already been addressed. After the crash, the Secretary of State held a hearing regarding the crash and Ramsey’s driving privileges. At the conclusion of that hearing, Ramsey’s driving privileges were suspended for 12 months, followed by an indefinite suspension. “

“In order to have his driving privileges restored after the initial 12-month suspension has
expired, Ramsey will need to pass a vision exam, a written knowledge test, and a road test
administered by the Secretary of State. The actions by the Secretary of State against Ramsey’s driving privileges are greater than the sanction associated with a criminal conviction.”

“After a complete analysis of the case and possible consequences, the conclusion was reached
that formal charging and conviction of Ramsey was not likely to accomplish more than a conviction on paper.”

Douglas Lloyd, Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney

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