ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, Mo. – The Farmington community is offering its support to a family facing the loss of an 8-year-old child.
The boy was in a buggy with his family when they were struck from behind by a pickup truck. Four other family members were airlifted to area hospitals with serious injuries.
The family are Old Order Mennonites and shy away from modern conveniences such as cars. They were on their way to pick blueberries. The church operates a produce stand in the area.
Members of the church declined to speak on camera but said they appreciate all the prayers from concerned citizens.
“This is a community that pulls together. It’s very warm and thoughtful and they care about people,” said Candy Hente, who helped organize a vigil at Long Park on Thursday evening.
Her friend, Debbie Peterson, said friends of the family told them matters were in God’s hands now.
“It made me realize that’s what we need to do,” said Peterson. “We need to pray.”
Community members are also working on setting up a fund to help the family pay for medical expenses for the injured and to help heal over the loss of a child.
“We just want to pray for them and give them some support and let them know that they mean a lot to us,” said Bonne Terre resident Rob Gerst.
A Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman said the buggy did have the proper signage to be on the road and that there is no minimum speed requirement on that highway. There are also signs in the area warning drivers to share the road. The signs include an image representing a horse and a buggy.
“We don’t know all the answers but we can gather together and find hope,” said New Heights Pastor Rocky Good. “We’re going to trust the Lord.”
An accident reconstruction team is investigating the crash. They typically take several weeks before a report is complete.