An Amish community mourned Tuesday for two girls killed when their horse-drawn carriage collided with an SUV on a rural road in Indiana, and three of their siblings remained hospitalized _ two with critical injuries.
Jenna Miller, 10, and Jolisa Miller, 7, were killed when a cart operated by their 10-year-old sister was struck by an SUV Monday in Middlebury, about 30 miles east of South Bend, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department. The pony also died.
Neighbor Lavon Yoder, who does horseshoeing for Amish families, said the girls killed came from a family of nine children. Yoder told WNDU-TV that he arrived on the scene before emergency vehicles and others started giving CPR to the children.
Authorities were still investigating the crash, but state Police Sgt. Rich Myers said he knows of no law restricting at what age children can operate horse-drawn vehicles along Indiana roadways. Susan Miller, managing director of Menno-Hof, a nonprofit information center in Shipshewana that teaches visitors about the Amish and Mennonite, said it's not unusual for Amish children to drive pony carts.
"They learn to do that very young. This girl was 10 years old. They do it even younger than that," said Miller, who is not related to the family. "But usually just the small pony carts. I don't believe they would be driving a buggy. But they do drive rather young."
The driver of the cart, Jeneva Miller, was in critical condition Tuesday at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne on Tuesday, while 9-year-old sister Joyce Miller was in fair condition there, hospital spokesman John Perlich said.
Jared Miller, 4. who sustained a head injury, was in critical condition at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., hospital spokeswoman Debbie Pawlicki said.
The driver of the SUV, Kathy Butterfield, 60, of Bristol, was not injured but was visibly shaken as she was consoled by nearby residents. Her husband, Rick Butterfield, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he and his wife were traveling with the Miller family to Kalamazoo to visit their son.
"Our hearts go out to them. They are most kind to us," he said, declining to comment further.
The Amish community is devastated, Yoder said.
"When I got home, I had to take a little break," Yoder said. "I got five boys and there were three of them here and they were just all sitting there crying."
Another neighbor, Kenny Stutzman, told WSBT-TV that all the neighbors were coming together to help the family.
"It's really tough when you lose one person. We're all close," he told the television station. "Nobody expects something like that, so it brings all the neighbors together."