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A vehicle slammed into the back of a horse-drawn buggy carrying four children, killing three and seriously injuring another on Wednesday, Eaton County authorities said.

The crash occurred at 3:19 p.m. Wednesday in Chester Township, northwest of Charlotte, woodtv.com reported. The vehicle struck the buggy from behind, authorities said.

Three children died at the scene, authorities said. Another child was hospitalized with serious injuries.

The driver of the vehicle that police say struck the buggy, an adult male, was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

The Eaton County Sheriff's Office was on the scene. The Michigan State Police aviation unit also was helping.

"It's very difficult," Eaton County Undersheriff Jeffrey Cook told WOOD-TV. "All of our responders, all of our deputies, EMS and the witnesses who were at the scene, we all have children, and it's difficult to measure the impact that this has on the families of these children ..."it's a horrific scene."

The crash is the latest in buggy-vehicle incidents that pit modern vehicles against the slow-moving horse-drawn carriages. In June, three children were killed in California Township in southern Michigan when the buggy their were riding in was struck by a truck. In July, six children were injured on the state's west side when a vehicle struck a carriage with eight people.

Before that, eight people died in 135 accidents involving the horse-drawn carriages from 2014 to 2019, according to the Michigan State Police. 

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