A 17-year old Amish boy from Leon, New York led police on a horse and buggy chase after he ran a stop sign and refused to stop for an officer. The horse and buggy chase with police went on for one mile prior to his crash. Levi Detweiler was tracked down about a week following the incident, after his buggy was found crashed in a ditch and abandoned. According to CBS News, he was charged with underage possession of alcohol, overdriving an animal, reckless endangerment, failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Levi Detweiler was likely going through what the Amish refer to as Rumschpringe. It takes place between the ages of 16 and can continue as late as the very early 20's. Amish youth are allowed to do many things during Rumschpringe that they cannot normally do, like go to movies, hang out with English (non-Amish) friends, and both ride in or drive cars. While most Amish youth maintain some order during Rumschpringe, others like Levi Detweiler sow their wild oats, as he did with his horse and buggy chase with the cops. The idea behind Rumschpringe is to allow Amish youth the opportunity to experience things that are "of the world," since the Amish believe in living "in the world but not of the world." That way once their Rumschpringe is over, most Amish youth are ready to settle down and join the Amish church through baptism.
Levi Detweiler is actually a very lucky young man. Amish buggies are not made for racing, and there have been numerous fatal Amish buggy accidents in recent years. It's a wonder that during his horse and buggy chase with the cops that he wasn't seriously injured or killed. Amish buggies are top heavy and can tip very easily.
I've studied the Amish culture for many years now and find it fascinating. I've visited several Amish communities and have a great respect for their ways of life. It's quite likely that Levi Detweiler's family will make him work to pay for the repairs on the buggy. He will probably also have to make a formal apology to the cops and the court if he winds up appearing there. He will need to earn the money to pay his own fines. The Amish don't take breaking laws likely, although they prefer not to involve the authorities in their situations.
Levi Detweiler has likely brought shame to his family because of the mug shot taken at the police department as well. The Amish take the phrase from the Bible that says "Thou shalt not make a graven image...." (Exodus 20:4) to mean that photographs are a sign of vanity and pride. The Amish do not allow themselves to be photographed.
It's certainly not often you see an Amish teen involved in a horse and buggy chase with the cops, and I doubt it's something even cops near Amish communities see on a regular basis. And I hope for safety's sake that the next time an Amish youth is signaled to stop by an emergency vehicle that he obeys the law and does so. The dangers of racing an Amish buggy are not worth the risk.
Additional Source: 13WHAM.com