2 children died in Amish buggy crash, police investigating how identical twins, meth, and damning internet searches relate to tragic case

A tragic accident in Minnesota took the lives of two children when a woman accused of driving under the influence crashed into an Amish buggy in September. Police are now investigating how identical twins, meth, and damning internet searches relate to the heartbreaking case.

Samantha Petersen, 35, was charged with 21 felonies, including four counts of criminal vehicular homicide – operating a vehicle with neglect, eight counts of aiding an offender, and four counts of criminal vehicular operation.

A probable cause statement said Petersen tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine, Delta-9 THC, and the metabolite of Delta-9 THC.

Court records show she was previously convicted of drunk driving in October 2015 and impaired driving under a controlled substance in August 2018.

Police suspect that Petersen’s identical twin sister – Sarah Petersen – switched clothes with Samantha at the crime scene in an alleged attempt to take responsibility for the deadly crash.

Sarah Petersen has been charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide – operating vehicle with neglect, eight counts of aiding an offender, and four counts of criminal vehicular operation.

KTTC reported, “According to the complaint, the SUV involved in the deadly crash was traveling between 63 and 71 miles per hour when it rear-ended the buggy on Fillmore County Road 1 in Fillmore County. The speed limit on that stretch is 55 miles per hour.”

Two children in the Amish buggy – 7-year-old Wilma Miller and 11-year-old Irma Miller – were killed in the fatal accident. Their siblings – a 9-year-old brother and a 13-year-old sister – were hospitalized with serious injuries.

The 9-year-old suffered a broken left shoulder, lacerated kidney, torn spleen, concussion, and slight bleeding in his brain. The 13-year-old endured facial scarring.

Law enforcement admitted that the sisters being identical twins “added a lot of complexity” to the investigation.

“As the days continued beyond that first day where the crash was reported, inconsistencies started to appear in both sisters’ stories and in the evidence that the deputies uncovered,” Fillmore County Sheriff John DeGeorge DeGeorge said during a press conference on Thursday. “Later, it was determined through a series of search warrants, interviews, analysis of different data that in fact Samantha Petersen, Sarah’s twin sister, was driving that vehicle.”

DeGeorge stated, “Sarah was on scene a short time before our first deputy arrived. 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 point.”

An investigator interviewed Sarah Beth Petersen after the fatal wreck, and recorded the conversation – apparently unbeknownst to the sisters. Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Dornink briefly left the interview, and that’s when Samantha walked over to her sister and reportedly said, “I think that one of the guys is onto me but I don’t really care … There’s no way they would ever know the difference between the two of us so they can’t tell.”

A major turning point in the investigation arrived when law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant for the sisters’ cell phones.

According to court documents, Samantha Petersen’s cell phone sent a text message to a friend on Sept. 25 that read: “I hit that Amish buggy and killed two ppl [sic]. Made Sarah come there and take the fall for it so I wouldn’t go to prison.”

DeGeorge said the charges took a “very long time” to get processed because it was a lengthy process to acquire and analyze cell phone data.

Police said Samantha Petersen called the human resources department after the deadly car crash.

Additionally, police say Samantha Petersen called the human resources department at her work shortly after the car wreck.

“I (expletive) up … I just killed two Amish people. They were kids … I just hit a (expletive) buggy … I’m not sober … I’m high on meth,” Samantha told the human resource manager – who later reportedly informed police.

Samantha Petersen allegedly made damning internet searches following the fatal accident.

USA Today reported, “Police say they also found various internet searches on Petersen’s phone, including: ‘What happens if you get in an accident with an Amish buggy and kill two people?'”

Sarah Petersen’s first court appearance is scheduled for April 1.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched to help financially support the grieving family. At the time of publication, the crowdfunding campaign raised more than $90,000.

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