Henry Detweiler told the Lansing State Journal that the children—ages 6, 8, 10 and 13—had finished school Wednesday and were headed to his blacksmith shop, less than 3 miles away, in Eaton County, southwest of the state capital.
The buggy was struck from behind on Wednesday around 3:20 p.m. on Vermontville Highway, near Bradley Road and Ainger Rd in Vermontville Township.
The elderly driver of the motor vehicle was examined at a hospital. The crash remains under investigation. No names have been released.
“I bawled all the way home,” said Kevin Newton, who often drives for the Amish and knew the victims. “They’ve got to do something, pass a law or something. They should have more signs out” warning drivers about buggies.
Jerri Nesbitt of the county sheriff’s office said the 6-year-old boy had a “good night,” despite leg and head injuries, and was in stable condition.
A sign on the door at Sunset Acres coffee shop said the Amish-owned business would be closed until Monday “due to the tragic accident in the community.”
“It’s an unspeakable loss for any parent to lose their children in a manner like this,” Undersheriff Jeff Cook said.
“It’s very difficult [for] all of our responders, deputies, EMS, witnesses [who were] at the scene—we all have children,” Cook said of the tragic incident.
“It’s difficult to measure the impact that this has on the families of these children … we are doing our very best to conduct a full investigation and find out how this occurred and help the families involved,” he added.
Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said in a statement, according to MLive: “Our hearts and prayers go out to the parents, who are enduring such unimaginable loss and grief, and also to their extended family and close community … We grieve with them.”
Epoch Times reporter Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.