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Virginia man charged in Amish buggy crash that killed couple, hurt 8 kids

Mickel Bates is facing charges in a crash with an Amish horse-drawn buggy that killed a Cumberland County couple and injured their eight children.
Credit: George Sheldon - stock.adobe.com
Ronks, PA / USA - June 9, 2019: An Amish horse-drawn buggy moves slowly on a rural roadway in Lancaster County.

FARMVILLE, Va. — A Virginia man is facing charges in a crash with an Amish horse-drawn buggy that killed a Cumberland County couple and injured their eight children.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Mickel Bates, 60, of Farmville on Tuesday on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving in the deaths of Barbie and John Esh, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Bates declined to comment when reached by telephone by The Associated Press.

The buggy was traveling south on Cumberland Road in the Farmville area before 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 with 10 family members on board when it was hit by a southbound Toyota Tundra, police said in a news release. Barbie Esh died at the scene and her husband died the next day at a hospital. Their eight children, ranging in age from 9 months to 16 years, were taken to hospitals for treatment of injuries that ranged from minor to serious, police said.

The buggy was equipped with the required “Slow Moving Vehicle” placard and working headlights and taillights, police said.

State police said horse-drawn vehicles are becoming popular in Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte and Halifax counties. Two people were seriously injured days before the fatal crash when another buggy was struck in Richmond County.