close Amish man creates ‘Amish Uber’ using his horse and carriage Video

Amish man creates ‘Amish Uber’ using his horse and carriage

An Amish man has named his horse and carriage service Amish Uber. With a low volume of Uber drivers in the area, Timothy Hochstedler is looking to fill that void.

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Identical twins from Minnesota are accused of swapping places after one of them, allegedly driving high on a rural highway, rear-ended an Amish horse-drawn carriage and killed two children.

Police spent months building the case before announcing charges. But, according to one expert, the damning evidence might not be as strong as it appears.

Prosecutors now allege Samantha Jo Petersen was behind the wheel Sept. 25, 2023, when a motor vehicle slammed into a horse-drawn carriage, killing two children and injuring their two siblings. It was not her identical twin sister, Sarah Beth Petersen, who took responsibility at the scene, who was driving, the prosecutors say.


A mugshot of Sarah Beth Peterson in 2016.

A mugshot of Sarah Beth Petersen in 2016. She is the identical twin of Samantha Jo Petersen. (Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities said the crash killed 7-year-old Wilma Miller and 11-year-old Irma Miller and sent two of their siblings, ages 9 and 13, to the hospital.

Samantha Petersen had an expired driver’s license and no insurance for her silver Toyota 4Runner at the time of the crash, according to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital.

Sheriff John DeGeorge told local media in February dozens of charges had been filed against the sisters after a “lengthy investigation” found suspicious “inconsistencies” that later led to the unraveling of the alleged plot.


A mugshot of Samantha Jo Petersen in 2015.

A mugshot of Samantha Jo Petersen in 2015 (Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office)

“Sarah was on scene a short time before our first deputy arrived,” he said in televised remarks. “That allowed them to come up with this story where Sarah would take responsibility for the crash and start to mislead the investigation from that very point.”

When police arrived, she told them she was the driver and that she hit the buggy.

Minnesota Amish children victims

Irma Miller, 11, and her sister Wilma, 7, were killed in the crash. Ambulances rushed their two surviving siblings to a hospital. (FOX 9)


The sisters allegedly pulled off the switcheroo because Samantha Petersen was high on drugs at the time of the crash and was scared she’d be sent to prison, according to court documents. 

Sarah had recently been in prison as well, according to the filings, and may have felt she owed her sister a favor for taking care of her kids while she was locked up.

Read the criminal complaint

Responding officers allegedly found “a couple of burnt marijuana blunts” and a tin can of pot in the crashed vehicle, and investigators later found evidence she was also using methamphetamine.

An officer left his recorder running and walked away during the investigation, and it also allegedly recorded Samantha Petersen telling her sister, “I think one of the guys is onto me, but I really don’t care … there’s no way they would ever know the difference between the two of us, so they can’t tell.”

Scene of Sept. 25, 2023 fatal Amish buggy crash

Detectives concluded the driver had a clear view for 1,452 feet before the crash, and there were no obstructions, according to court documents.  (FOX 9)

Detectives allegedly found damning evidence in a text exchange between Samantha Petersen and someone investigators have identified as “DH” that said, in part, “i don’t think you realize that i did that…i hit that amish buggy and killed two people…made sarah come there and take the fall for it so i wouldn’t go to prison.”

Detectives also allegedly found evidence the suspect did searches on her phone for phrases that included “what happens if you get in an accident with an Amish buggy and kill two people?”

Scene of fatal buggy crash

A makeshift memorial at the side of the road near where prosecutors allege the Petersen sisters swapped places after a DWI crash killed two Amish children in the back of a horse-drawn carriage and injured their two siblings. (FOX 9)

She has a prior record of charges including at least two prior DWI arrests and giving a false name to law enforcement, court records show. 

Now she’s facing 21 counts, including vehicular homicide, DWI and leaving the scene of an accident. She’s due in court March 25.

Sarah Petersen is due in court April 1 on 16 felony charges, including aiding and abetting and trying to take responsibility for a crime.

“There’s a huge circumstantial case as it relates to impaired operation,” against the suspected driver, said David Gelman, a former prosecutor and now a defense attorney.

A mugshot of Samantha Jo Petersen in 2016.

Authorities provided a number of mugshots for Samantha Petersen, including this one from 2016. Her prior record includes multiple DWIs. (Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office)

But it wasn’t a particularly high-speed crash, he said, so it could be a hindrance for prosecutors at trial. On the other hand, he said the “negligence” threshold under Minnesota law is easier to prove than “recklessness” required in some other states.


“It’s a challenging case from a vehicular homicide standpoint, for the state, I think, but [the suspects] certainly didn’t do a lot to help themselves with the antics of trying to switch drivers at the scene,” he said. “Sometimes juries get really, really angry and upset when they see that type of shenanigans.”

Amish Buggy

A horse-drawn buggy in Ohio’s Amish country shows a reflective panel on the back to warn drivers. (iStock)

The case against Sarah Petersen, the sober sister, could be even harder to prosecute as charged, he said, but authorities could be looking to pressure her into a plea deal to secure her testimony against Samantha Petersen.

“She can’t really be proven to have done more than hinder the investigation,” he said. “She was not the driver. She may have given false statements, which again goes to hindering.”

He pointed out some other items he said defense attorneys could turn to. The affidavit states that one of the suspects moved a vehicle during the initial investigation.

Members of the Amish riding bikes and horse-and-buggies.

In this photo from Oct. 18, 2016, members of the Amish ride bicycles and drive a horse-and-buggy down a street in Millersburg, Ohio, while wearing traditional clothes. Many similar vehicles have bright markings on the back as a safety precaution. (iStock)


“The scene was contaminated immediately by the women moving the scene, moving around willy billy,” he said. “As a defense attorney, I’m going to be pounding them. … They did not protect that crime scene.

“At the end of the day, you have innocent people who are dead, and juries don’t like that,” he said. “But the defense does have good talking points here.”

Fox News’ Stepheny Price contributed to this report.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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