(ADAMS COUNTY) - A grand jury in Adams County has declined to file criminal charges against a van driver who rear-ended a horse-drawn buggy almost a year ago, killing three children and seriously injuring their mother.
Archie Ingersoll of The Journal Gazette reports that the jury heard three days of testimony on the collision that happened about 8 a.m. April 17, 2012, west of Monroe, county Prosecutor Christopher Harvey said Tuesday in a written statement.
According to a crash report, the van driver, Chandler Gerber, told investigators the sun's reflection off the road made it difficult to see. He also said he was texting a relative and going about 60 mph just before the crash, the report stated.
Gerber, of Bluffton, was 22 years old at the time. He was not injured, the report said.
The six-member jury deliberated for several hours before announcing its decision Friday. "Ultimately, the grand jury found that, while Mr. Gerber was negligent, even grossly negligent in his actions, his conduct did not amount to recklessness under Indiana law," Harvey said in the statement.
Gerber's attorney, Anthony Churchward, said in a written statement that his client was "obviously relieved with the verdict."
"Mr. Gerber hopes that this decision will allow all involved to heal following this horrible tragedy," the statement said.
According to the crash report, the van, a 1998 General Motors model, and the buggy were both traveling east on Indiana 124 near County Road 400 West. As a result of the impact, the six people in the buggy were ejected, the report said.
Jerry Schwartz, 17; Barbara Schwartz, 5; and Enos Schwartz, 3, were killed, and their mother, Mary Schwartz, was badly hurt. Mary Schwartz's son, Michael, and her daughter, Susan, were also in the buggy, according to authorities.
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