At approximately 8:26 a.m. on the morning of September 25, 2023, a horse drawn Amish buggy carting four children on County Road 1 in the Sumner Center area was struck by a vehicle. Seven-year-old Wilma Miller and 11-year-old Irma Miller were both fatally injured in the crash. Nine-year-old Alan Miller and 13-year-old Rose Miller were both transported to St. Marys Hospital with unknown injuries. All four victims in the crash were siblings and residents of rural Stewartville, Minn.
According to statements released in search warrants, when law enforcement arrived on the scene, they observed a silver 2005 Toyota 4Runner with front end damage and the buggy located in the west ditch. The driver of the vehicle was believed to be Sarah Beth Petersen, age 35, of Spring Valley, Minn. However, the vehicle was registered to Samantha Jo Petersen, age 35, the twin sister to Sarah Beth Petersen.
“Sarah was said to be the sole occupant of the Toyota 4Runner,” according to the report.
Since this was a fatal crash, law enforcement conducted tests with Sarah, the alleged driver of the Toyota SUV, to determine if there were signs of impairment.
Based on information revealed during the investigation, it was determined that Sarah was possibly not the driver of the vehicle. Instead, it was believed to be her twin sister Samantha. The report indicates that Samantha was believed to be the driver of the vehicle when it struck the Amish buggy, but then her sister Sarah showed up on the scene and they traded places before law enforcement arrived.
A search warrant was issued for access to Samantha Jo Petersen’s cell phone, along with a blood or urine sample.
Sheriff John De George has stated this is an ongoing and active investigation.
As of press time, no charges have been filed, and there has not been a case opened at the Fillmore County District Court.