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Crash kills buggy driver

October 3, 2011

    The driver of an Amish buggy was killed and a passenger severely injured at 4:25 p.m. Friday when their vehicle was struck on Salem Road near C.R. 300E by a northbound van.
    The Adams County Sheriff's Department reported today that Joseph J. Schwartz, 28, rural Decatur, was pronounced dead at the scene from head injuries sustained when he was ejected from his buggy that was struck by a van driven by David R. Harkless, 78, rural Decatur.
    Harkless told police he didn't remember the details of the mishap as he blacked out at the wheel of his vehicle.
    Witnesses to the mishap, according to the sheriff's department report, told police the van struck the buggy from the rear.
    Both Schwartz, and a passenger in the buggy, Ann J. Schwartz, rural Decatur, were thrown initially to the hood of the Harkless van and the van traveled approximately 105 feet before they fell to the ground, the report said.
    Paramedics immediately transferred Ann J. Schwartz directly to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne with leg and head injuries. Hospital officials did not return a call on her condition before presstime today.
    The report said the buggy, considered a total loss, was shattered in the mishap and debris was found all over the crash scene; he horse with the buggy pulled the remains into a nearby field.
    Harkless was offered medical assistance at the scene, but declined.
    Police estimated damage to the vehicles at between $10,001-$25,000.

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