ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A boy was killed and two people were airlifted after a pickup truck crashed into an buggy south of Farmington Thursday.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the crash occurred on northbound Highway OO south of Highway DD around 6:45 a.m.
7-year-old Mervin Shirk was in the buggy and suffered fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Four other family members were seriously hurt. Mervin's mother Alice (50) was airlifted along with a 21-year-old female family member to Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Two other family members, ages 12 and 10, were taken to the hospital by ambulance.
The 19-year-old who was driving the buggy suffered minor injuries.
The Shirks were reportedly going to the nearby blueberry farm to pick blueberries at the time of the crash.
Authorities said the two teens who were in the pickup truck, ages 16 and 19, were headed to work at the time of the crash. They were not injured.
"I've worked this area for 15 years and to my knowledge I've never known of anything this tragic, this devastating involving this community, in this area," said Corporal Juston Wheetley.
There were reportedly no signs that the driver of the pickup truck was impaired at the time. Authorities said accident reconstruction crews will determine whether excessive speeding played a role in the crash.
The buggy had a "slow moving vehicle" sign on the back, making it legal to operate on the roadway.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, those inside the buggy were part of a nearby Mennonite community.
The family in the buggy and the family who own the blueberry farm had known each other for years.
Joy Boyer, owner of the farm, said the family was extremely kind.
"Very Kind. Kind and honest," she said. "I know her and she is a good mother and she is going to grieve beyond what any of us can imagine, I'm sure."
The children had come to Liberty Farms many times to help pick berries, and Boyer said they were motivated and sweet.
"They are like beyond their years, their work ethic is unbelievable," she said. "Just very sweet children. He was a very sweet child. Well-mannered and hard working."
Both directions of Highway OO reopened just after 10:30 a.m. after being closed following the crash.
Editor's note: Missouri State Highway Patrol officials originally told News 4 those inside the buggy were members of an Amish community out of Farmington that was established five years ago.