Amish community coming together after deadly semi-crash in Clark County

Wisconsin is one of the states with the largest population of Amish people in the country.
Posted at 10:17 AM, Mar 12, 2024

Seven of the nine victims killed in a crash on Friday, March 8 in central Wisconsin were members of the Amish community from Burke’s Garden, Virginia.

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According to an information line, the group was visiting family in Wisconsin, which is one of the states with the largest population of Amish people in the country.

Family and friends who knew the victims shared that Amish people lead simple lives, which includes not driving cars.

The family had hired a local driver to take them to their destination.

“It’s quite common to hire private van drivers,” UW-Madison Professor Mark Louden explained. He teaches Germanic Linguistics.

“Amish people do not own or operate their own motor vehicles so when they're traveling distances longer than horse and buggy distances, they use public or charter buses.”

The driver of the van often took Amish in the Burke’s Garden area on trips, according to his ex-wife.

The area in Virginia has just over 300 people, roughly 120 of which are Amish.

Here in Wisconsin, there are nearly 25,000 Amish people. The state has the fourth largest Amish population in the country behind Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

Louden said that roughly a third of Clark County is either Amish or traditional Mennonite.

“I live in a well-established Amish community and work with them sometimes,” Nathaniel Jahn shared. He witnessed the crash happen on his way to work and pulled a two-year-old from the wreck.

According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the van entered the intersection of Highway 95 and County Road J in Clark County, into the path of a semitrailer traveling east on 95.

That’s when the van and semi collided.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was killed, and eight of the nine people in the van, including the driver of that vehicle, also died.

The only survivor was a two-year-old boy from the van

A GoFundMe has been created to help pay for funeral expenses.