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Mother killed, 4 children seriously injured when pickup rear-ends horse-drawn buggy

Mother killed, 4 children seriously injured when pickup rear-ends horse-drawn buggy
Posted at 10:26 AM, Dec 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-21 22:12:17-05

BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- Troopers are investigating a crash involving a pickup truck and a horse-drawn buggy that left a mother dead and four children seriously injured Friday afternoon in Buckingham County.

Troopers responded to the crash involving the buggy on Route 60 near High School Road at 3:55 p.m., according to Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller.

"The buggy was traveling east on Route 60 when it was struck from the rear by an eastbound 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup," Geller said.

A family of six was on board the buggy, which officials said had flashing lights and a reflective triangle, when it was struck.

Officials said 36-year-old John Yoder, who was seated outside driving the buggy, was thrown from the vehicle.

Thirty-one-year-old Sylvia Yoder was transported to UVA Medical Center where officials said she succumbed to her injuries Saturday morning.

Four children,  two boys and two girls ranging in age from 2 years to 10 years old,  were transported to UVA Medical Center with serious injuries.

"One of the two horses had to be euthanized at the scene," officials said. "The other horse was transported from the scene by a vet for treatment of serious injuries."

Driver charged 

Sixty-seven-year-old George M. Lee of Buckingham, who was driving the pickup, was charged with reckless driving.

Officials said alcohol is not being considered a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.

Country store sets up donation center for family 

The family was coming home from a Christmas Program at their children's school when their buggy was hit, according to officials with the Wise Ridge Country Store.

"We are setting up a donation center here at Wise Ridge for not only money but meals for the family when they come home," reads the Facebook post.

The store is located at 34 Wise Ridge Road in Dillwyn.

Witness 'really saw humanity coming together' at crash scene 

Holly Cole pulled up to the crash scene just moments after impact on Route 60 near High School Road in Buckingham County at 3:55 p.m. Friday.

"I never expected I would see a horse drawn, a carriage to smithereens, and children on the side of the road," Cole explained.

Cole jumped out of her car and ran towards the children to help.

"They were sandwiched between the injured horse and the mom, so I didn’t want them seeing either," Cole recalled. "I just kept laying on the ground with them and trying to get them to take slow deep breaths."

Cole said the children were frightened about going to the hospital.

"I immediately reached down and started talking to them and telling them they were going to be OK and they needed to trust and help was on the way," Cole said.

Cole said what she "really saw humanity coming together" at the crash scene.

"A man came up with a handmade quilt that he had and put it around one of the children. Another woman one helped with the horse," Cole stated.

Cole urged drivers to pay attention to the road.

"I can’t stop thinking about it and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sounds or what I saw," she said.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can submit a news tip here.