WHITEFIELD (WGME) – An increasing number of cars are crashing into Amish buggies in Whitefield.
Police say there have been at least five crashes this year, with one of them sending an Amish boy to the hospital.
“When I came down, I was like, I got in tears,” mother Annie Cook said.
“You never get over seeing a boy laying in the road,” neighbor Catherine Purington said.
Purington has been living in Whitefield for 10 years.
She often watches as the Amish ride their buggies past her house.
“I like to wave to them,” Purington said. “They know me. We’ve chatted and visited with each other.”
One morning, she saw a buggy pass by without a driver.
“So I knew something had happened, and you could tell the buggy was broke,” Purington said.
“He just rear-ended him,” Cook said. “I think his answer was that he didn’t see him until it was too late.”
Cook’s son Freddie was riding his new buggy into work that day when he was hit by a car.
“The guy that hit him, he came to Fred when he was laying on the road and he asked him if he was OK, and he said no, he needs to call 911,” Cook said.
Freddie was thrown from his seat with his leg broken and his buggy destroyed.
“The seat where Freddie was sitting got sheared off,” Purington said.
Purington now keeps it on her lawn with a sign asking drivers to slow down.
“We’re trying everything to slow down traffic,” Purington said.
To help prevent these types of accidents from happening, the Maine DOT put up signs all over town.
The town decided to take it one step further.
“We purchased the ‘Welcome to Whitefield: Share the Road’ signs,” Whitefield Town Clerk Yolanda Violette said. “We purchased 15 of them.”
“I don’t think it’s going to help though,” Purington said.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says they plan to do more patrols in the area and put up digital signage to try to slow people down.
“If they got to see what I saw that morning, with that boy laying in the road and his father leaning over him, think they’d think a little bit differently,” Purington said.