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Family friend steps up to help children of Amish buggy crash victims

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - People in Cumberland County are working with the Amish community to help out the survivors of the deadly buggy crash from Sunday night.

“The buggy was there in three pieces. Barbie was still laying there on the ground,” Maria Bryan recalled the horrible scene from Sunday night. The crash broke up the Esh family of 10.

Bryan knew Barbie and John Esh, along with their eight kids - often driving the kids to school.

She brings up the sad fact that the family was about two minutes from home when their buggy was struck from behind by a pickup truck.

“Some of the firefighters walked the horse from the scene to the barn. That’s how close they were to home,” Bryan said.

But as 400 people are expected to visit the area to pay their respects to victims, Bryan and other family friends take on the task of catering to those who are traveling hundreds of miles, most by buggy “from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even from Kentucky.”

Bryan is asking for help on social media - food and funds - to cater to the incoming guests.

She is offering to pick up non-perishables and other items. She is also getting help from the Cumberland Fire Department.

In the meantime, she says the children will each be assigned a caretaker, while still living together at their home.

“Five people have gone to VCU as of this morning to be trained on how to care for the children at home with their injuries,” Bryan said.

But despite all the support, Bryan says the kids only want one thing.

“‘My life would be perfect if I had my parents,’” one of the daughters told her.

Virginia State Police expect Amish families from as far as Pennsylvania and New York will be in Cumberland for tomorrow’s funeral, which means drivers should expect to see many more horse-and-buggies on the road at least through Sunday.

There’s been a GoFundMe established for the family’s mortgage, with can be found here.

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