Sequatchie County boy riding in buggy remains hospitalized after ATV crash

A sign warning drivers about horse drawn buggies sits just over a mile down the road from where the crash happened. (Image: WTVC)

A 12-year-old boy is in the hospital after police say an ATV hit the buggy his family was traveling in Sunday night in Dunlap.

The Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department says a juvenile was driving the ATV when it crashed into the horse-drawn buggy. Eight people were inside the buggy when the crash happened near the intersection of Fredonia Road and Coca Cola Road.

That accident then spooked the horse, which raced 100 feet down the road with the occupants still in the buggy, eventually overturning down an embankment, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

As soon as Margie Wheeler heard her neighbors were hurt in a crash, she cranked on her stove and oven.

"I feel compelled as their neighbor and as a Christian to reach out and do whatever they need," said Margie Wheeler.

Wheeler knows the Beiler family from the farmer's market they have together, and buys the baked goods they prepare. This morning, Wheeler did the cooking.

"I brought them food because I heard the mom had hurt herself," said Wheeler. "The mom is in a cast and she's got a broken bone fragment here and a cut eye."

A mom, dad, five children and a teacher were all in the buggy during the crash. The family is Amish and because of their religious beliefs didn't want to go on camera. But the mother, Susie Beiler, told NewsChannel 9 they're doing well considering the nature of the crash. She's thankful for Wheeler's support and says it means a lot. Beiler says they use buggies instead of motorized vehicles to lead a simple life like their forefathers.

Beiler says says one of her daughters has a broken arm. Another had a concussion and needed stitches. 12-year-old John Andrew had the worst of it.

"The son is in the hospital with a cut spleen," said Wheeler.

When Wheeler visited the family Monday, she learned the details of the crash.

"They told me the four wheeler came up barreling up the hill over it and hit them from behind," said Wheeler. "The cart dumped into the ditch. The children were thrown out."

Wheeler's sister Jane also works with the Beilers at the market. She says it's normal to see ATVs in the area, but she usually sees them on trails, not roads.

"It was very foggy and dark and wet," said Jane Mauldin. "Just a bad night to be out."

With the family so precious to Wheeler, it was an emotional day.

"John has been down here to help, the girls have been helping, I was very worried that it was going to be worse than it was," said Wheeler.

A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay medical expenses. Go here to learn more.

Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and says charges are pending.

It is legal to drive an ATV on a highway in Tennessee under the following circumstances:

  • ATVs can be driven on a two-lane highway but only if crossing the road
  • ATVs can only cross at designated turnarounds where other vehicles can also cross
  • State law allows local governments to place signs where ATV crossings are allowed
  • Breaking these rules can result in a $50 fine

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