Van hits horse-drawn buggy, driver faces slew of charges


A 13-year-old Mennonite girl has died from injuries sustained when a speeding car crashed into her family's horse-drawn carriage.

It happened Tuesday in Delano, a Mennonite community in Polk County.

The carriage driver, Daniel Wanner, and his daughter, Gloria, were hauling corn when the collision happened.

The driver police say is responsible, Jason Shelton, is behind bars at the Polk County Jail on a slew of charges, including Driving Under the Influence.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, Shelton left the scene in his damaged car until it died, then took off on foot.

They say he was found hours later in the woods, still intoxicated.

"Deputies from Polk County and TWRA and took him to a local hospital where he was treated and released. At which time we took him into custody and took him to jail," says Lt. John Harmon.

Gloria was flown by helicopter to the hospital.

While NewsChannel 9 was at the scene of the crash this afternoon, another member of the Mennonite community stopped to tell us Gloria passed away Wednesday afternoon.

Merle Leinbach says their families are very close.

"Actually, he's one of our schoolteachers and she is one of his students. An only child, so this is terrible."

Lt. Harmon confirmed Gloria's death late Wednesday afternoon.

He says carriages are common in that area, but drivers need to be aware of all types of vehicles.

"We have to share the roads with all types of vehicles. Not only motor vehicles and commercials vehicles, but we have to share the road with motorcycles, bicyclists, and sometimes pedestrians. And horse drawn vehicles or people riding horses," he adds.

Shelton is still booked in the jail on a $15,000 bond, which could be elevated since the victim has passed away and more charges are pending.

Gloria's father Daniel was not seriously injured in the crash.

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