The collision, which took place in Chester Township, Mich., happened when the children — all of whom were siblings — were traveling home from school around 3:20 p.m.
An elderly man driving a motor vehicle struck the children's buggy from behind, killing three of the siblings and sending the fourth to the hospital. The children were between the ages of six and 13.
"It's a horrible, horrible tragedy," Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said. "My heart goes out to the family."
Police have not released the names of the children yet, and Reich said the exact cause of the crash is still under investigation. The elderly man, who has also not yet been identified, was sent to the hospital for evaluation on Wednesday. The fourth child was hospitalized as well but is now considered to be in stable condition.
The Amish community
The Amish community
GORDONVILLE, PA - MARCH 12: An Amish auctioneer leads bidders during the Annual Mud Sale to support the Fire Department March 12, 2011 in Gordonville, Pennsylvania. The auctions are held in the spring by the Amish community to raise money for the community. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Amish farmers using a horse-drawn plow on hay field near Lancaster County , PA. Amish are descendants of Swiss-German Mennonites who fled religious persecution in Europe and are famous for their strict beliefs, traditional dress and their rejection of modern day conveniences, such as electricity and cars. The oldest community of Amish in the United States live in this area of Lancaster County, PA.
GORDONVILLE, PA - MARCH 12: Amish bidders watch the auction during the Annual Mud Sale to support the Fire Department March 12, 2011 in Gordonville, Pennsylvania. The auctions are held in the spring by the Amish community to raise money for the community. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Amish community in Mexico, 2009. (Photo by: PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images)
NICKEL MINES, PA - JANUARY 30: Members of the Amish community pass the site of the old schoolhouse in which five Amish girls were murdered January 30, 2007 in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. The Amish are in the process of rebuilding a schoolhouse a few hundred yards from the site where Charles Carl Roberts IV shot 10 girls and later committed suicide on October 2, 2006. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 27: Amish women react with emotion as they look over photographs of Waveland, Miss., as it was before Hurricane Katrina hit during a sharing night for the Waveland and Amish communities at an Amish camp near the beach in Waveland, Miss. The Amish people arrived from Lancaster County, Penn., on Sept. 3, 2005, five days after the storm, to volunteer to help with the cleanup and rebuilding effort. But for a two-month hiatus in the summer to tend to crops and fields back home, the Amish are still here, making the 20-hour trip in someone else's vehicle, since one of the Amish customs is to not drive. (Photo by Craig Warga/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
INTERCOURSE, UNITED STATES: A sign entering Intercourse, PA, 08 October, 2004, in Lancaster County, PA. The Amish are descendants of Swiss-German Mennonites who fled persecution in Europe in the 16th century and are famous for their strict beliefs, traditional dress and their rejection of modern day conveniences, such as electricity and cars. The oldest community of Amish in the United States live in this area of Lancaster County, PA. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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This is the second crash between a buggy and a motor vehicle to claim lives in Michigan this year. In June, three children — aged two, four and six — were killed after a drunk driver slammed his pickup truck into the back of their carriage.
In that instance, all seven passengers of the buggy — five children and two adults — were tossed from their vehicle. The 21-year-old pickup truck driver was arrested and face multiple charges, including operating while under the influence causing death.
Wednesday's crash caused some to call for legal changes that would help protect buggy drivers in the region.
"I bawled all the way home," Kevin Newton, who said he lives in the area and knew the children killed in the crash, told the Lansing State Journal. "They've got to do something, pass a law or something. They should have more signs out."
Michigan law currently treats horse-drawn buggies similarly to motor vehicles, despite the fact that a driver's license is not required to operate them. There are currently more than 16,000 Amish residents living in Michigan, making it home to the country's sixth-largest Amish population.