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Adams County, Indiana — April 17, 2012

Police believe a motorist was texting moments before striking a horse cart in the Bluffton area, killing three Amish siblings.

According to deputies with the  Adams County Sheriff’s Department, an unidentified male, 16, was driving a horse-drawn cart east along Indiana 124. As the cart approached County Road 400 West, around 7:55 a.m., it was hit by a white GMC commercial van, also headed east.

Paramedics responded to the scene, but were unable to save two occupants of the cart, Barbara Schwartz, 5, and Enos Schwartz, 3. Another male occupant, Jerry Schwartz, 17, was taken to a nearby hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.

The driver of the cart, 16, was hospitalized and released. The mother of the children, Mary Schwartz, 44, was also hospitalized for critical injuries.

The van’s driver, 21-year-old Bluffton resident Chandler Gerber admitted to texting with his wife immediately before the crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children between 2 and 14.

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