Trucker charged with murder in fatal buggy crash

AP News
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Posted: Jul 09, 2011 5:37 PM
Trucker charged with murder in fatal buggy crash

A tractor-trailer driver was charged with murder after his truck crashed into a horse-drawn buggy in southern Kentucky, killing an Amish toddler and injuring three members of her family, authorities said Saturday.

Christian County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Campbell told The Associated Press that 52-year-old Mark Bohms of Robinson, Ill., is also charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, three counts of assault and criminal mischief. No bond has been set, and it was unclear if Bohms had an attorney.

Bohms reached down to grab a cigarette as he was cresting a hill Friday night just inside the Hopkinsville city limit, according to the police report.

When he looked up, he was behind the buggy and attempted to shift lanes. But he hit the buggy, flattening it and knocking off its wheels.

Three-year-old Barber Smoker was killed. Abram Smoker, 58, Susie Smoker, 57, and Katie Smoker, 15, were injured. Their exact relationships were unclear.

The victims were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where authorities said Abram and Susie were in stable condition and the girl was listed as critical.

Police said one of the two horses pulling the buggy was killed in the accident. Sgt. Michael Felts of the Hopkinsville Police Department said the other horse apparently broke away and was discovered in a nearby field when authorities arrived.

Felts said the place where the accident occurred is between two Amish communities and is considered a cut-through.

He said he hasn't seen such a disaster involving the Amish community in his 10 years with the department. There are almost 8,000 Amish people in Kentucky, according to a 2010 estimate from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

"We have had accidents in the past in that area, as far as where cars have clipped the horse and buggy," Felt said. "But not this."