Mother, 11-year-old daughter died in Mercer County Amish buggy crash

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State police are continuing their investigation of a fatal collision Saturday in New Wilmington Township, Mercer County, in which an International truck trailer struck the back of a horse-drawn Amish buggy, killing two of the buggy's passengers.

The victims, Mary Byler, 34, of New Wilmington and her 11-year-old daughter, Anna, were pronounced dead at the scene by Mercer County Coroner Brad McGonigle, who said they died of blunt force trauma.

Mrs. Byler's husband, William Byler, 35, who was driving the buggy, was seriously injured and flown to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, Ohio.

State police said the truck trailer, operated by Matthew Coulter, 36, of Pulaski, Lawrence County, struck the rear of the buggy at 4:23 p.m. Saturday on Pulaski-Mercer Road. The police report stated that the truck trailer was headed west about 30 minutes before sunset. There was no information on Mr. Coulter's condition.

Chad R. Taylor, chairman of the New Wilmington Township board of supervisors, said the intersection of Pulaski-Mercer and Angel roads, where the crash occurred, is at the crest of a hill. "We don't have accidents there. This is the only one in my memory."

Mr. Taylor said the road has no shoulder so motor vehicles would have to wait behind a buggy to safely pass.

Accidents involving Amish buggies occur about once a month in the area, he continued, but usually it's the horse that is injured or killed. He said local Amish use blinkers and safety triangles affixed to their buggies to alert drivers to their presence, although he did not know if the Bylers' buggy had those safety features.

"This was just a tragic accident," said Mr. Taylor. "Our prayers really go out to the family of the victims and the family of the truck driver. It's just terrible."

Steve Twedt: or 412-263-1963.

Steve Twedt: or 412-263-1963. First Published December 1, 2013 12:29 PM

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