BARRON COUNTY — A plea agreement has been reached in the Fatal Buggy vs. Truck crash case that occurred in Barron County in 2021, according to a press release from the Barron County District Attorney.
On Thursday, February 18, 2021, at approximately 6:40p, a pick-up truck driven by Anthony R. Anderson struck an Amish buggy on 22nd Street/County Highway M in Oak Grove Township, Barron County, Wisconsin. The horse-drawn buggy was traveling northbound on County Highway M. The bug was equipped with an LED blinker light and two kerosene lanterns that emit a rearward red light and forward white light. The buggy had a slow-moving reflective triangle and reflective tape on the rear of the buggy.
L.J.M., who was 17 years old, and J.J.M., who was 16 years old, were seated in the buggy when the pickup truck Mr. Anderson was driving, which was also traveling northbound on County Highway m, drove into the rear of the buggy. J.J.M. suffered non-life-threatening injuries. L.J.M. was airlifted to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Eau Claire. L.J.M. died from his injuries on February 24, 2021.
Data recovered from the pickup truck’s Airbag Control Module (ACM) indicate Mr. Anderson was traveling at a speed of 56-57 mph when he struck the buggy. The posted speed limit on County Highway M where the vehicle/buggy crash occurred is 55 mpg. It was dark when the crash occurred and light snow was falling.
A blood sample was collected from Mr. Anderson following the crash. An ethanol analyst with the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene analyzed Mr. Anderson’s blood sample and obtained a result of .085 g/100 mL.
A plea agreement was reached in this case out of respect for the wishes of the victims’ family.
Criminal charges that Mr. Anderson caused the death of L.J.M. and caused injury to J.J.M. were dismissed. The State amended information charging Mr. Anderson with Operate a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence - 2nd offense, and Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration - 2nd offense. Mr. Anderson pled guilty to Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence - 2nd offense. The charge of Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration - 2nd offense was dismissed and read in.
Mr. Anderson was sentenced in accordance with a joint sentencing recommendation to 6 months incarceration. The jail sentence was stayed and he was placed on 2 years’ probation, with the following conditions:
- 5 days in jail;
- $1,429.00 fine;
- 12-month driver’s license revocation;
- 12-month ignition interlock device;
- alcohol and drug assessment (AODA) and follow up;
- absolute sobriety;
- no entry into establishments where alcohol is primarily sold;
- volunteer as a speaker on victim/impact panel, if requested;
- maintain current car insurance policy for the period of probation;
- 80 hours community service (40 hours to be completed in each year of probation);
- any other assessments and follow up requested by his probation agent;
- DNA sample;
- and costs.
Vehicle/buggy crashes have become an all too common occurrence in Wisconsin, and nationwide. The Amish are valued members of our community. The date of L.J.M. is a somber reminder of how important it is for motorists, particularly on rural roads in highways in Barron County, to remain attentive at all times for the presence of Amish buggies on our roads and highways.
- Per Brian H. Wright, Barron County District Attorney.