VERMONTVILLE, Mich. — No charges will be filed against Ronald Ramsey, the man driving a vehicle involved in a crash with a buggy that resulted in the death of three children and injury of another.
In September of 2019 Ramsey, age 83, was driving his vehicle westbound on Vermontville Highway when he struck a horse drawn buggy carrying four children between the age of 6 and 13. An investigation of the crash revealed that the buggy was struck from behind by a silver Chevrolet Equinox operated by Ramsey. Investigators found that the buggy was properly marked with lights and a slow moving vehicle triangle, that one of the children was wearing a reflective safety vest, and that the buggy was traveling on the right side of the roadway when it was struck.
The collision occurred in the westbound lane, the weather was clear, the roadway was dry, and Ramsey was traveling 60 mph in a 55 mph zone. Ramsey advised investigators that he did not observe the buggy until impact.
In a press release Easton County Prosecuting Attorney Douglas R. Lloyd said, “After consultation with the parents of the children, and in consideration of the applicable punishments that would be available, the decision has been made not to issue criminal charges against Ramsey for the crash. The decision to not charge Ronald Ramsey for the crash is not a statement about his criminal culpability, rather a decision that charging him would not be likely to result in any additional sanction or punishment.”
Lloyd said that he believes there is probable cause to support charging Ramsey with three counts of Moving Violation Causing Death for the deaths of the three children. The offense is a one-year misdemeanor, meaning that a person convicted of the offense could be sentenced to up to 24 months of probation, 12 months in jail, and have their driving privileges suspended for 12 months.
However, based on Ramsey’s age, lack of criminal history, and the current COVID-19 pandemic, Lloyd said that he believes it is unlikely that Ramsey would be incarcerated if convicted. Rather he said it is likely that a conviction would only result in a license sanction, which has already been addressed.
The Secretary of State held a hearing regarding the crash and Ramsey’s driving privileges. Ramsey’s driving privileges were suspended for 12 months, followed by an indefinite suspension. In order to have his driving privileges restored after the initial 12 month suspension has expired, Ramsey will need to pass a vision exam, a written knowledge test, and a road test administered by the Secretary of State. The actions by the Secretary of State against Ramsey’s driving privileges is greater than the sanction associated with a criminal conviction.
Lloyd said the decision not to issue charges was reached after consulting with the family.
“The loss of three beautiful children is an unimaginable tragedy, and our hearts still break for the family,” Lloyd said. “Their grace during this incident has been truly remarkable. May peace continue to be with them as they move forward. Let the deaths of these children serve as a reminder to use care while driving, and take care of one another.”
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