One child was killed and four individuals were seriously injured after a pickup truck struck a horse-drawn buggy Thursday morning on Route OO.
According to Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Juston Wheetley, the accident occurred at 6:45 a.m. Thursday just south of Route DD on northbound Route OO. He said six Mennonites in the buggy were headed to Liberty Blueberry Farms and had almost arrived when the buggy was struck by a pickup truck.
According to the patrol report, Mervin Shirk, 7, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Alice Shirk, 50, and Dorcas Shirk, 21, were seriously injured and airlifted to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. Miriam Shirk, 10, and Titus Shirk, 12, were seriously injured and airlifted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Allen Shirk, 19, who was operating the buggy, received minor injuries and was treated at the scene by the St. Francois County Ambulance District.
The report states Christopher Kazmierczak, 16, of Fredericktown, was inattentive to the roadway when he was operating a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado north on Route OO and struck the buggy, ejecting all the occupants.
The driver of the pickup and his passenger, both teens, were not injured. Wheetley said it was reported that the driver was on his way to work.
He said the buggy was going up a slight grade at the time of the accident. The speed limit on the roadway is 55 mph. Signs are posted to warn drivers to watch out for horse and buggies. This is the first serious accident in recent years involving a buggy in this part of the state.
He said the accident reconstruction process will take weeks to months.
A community prayer vigil was held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Long Park in Farmington. Hundreds attended to pray for the family.
This Mennonite community began establishing on Old Fredericktown Road off Route OO between Farmington and Fredericktown in early 2017. They opened the Home Gardens Community Market on June 3 of that year, selling homemade and homegrown goods.