Prosecutors have formally charged a woman they say hit an Amish buggy in southeastern Minnesota last fall, killing two children in the process.

A Minnesota woman was formally charged in connection to a crash that killed two children riding in an Amish buggy in September 2023, after her identical twin sister allegedly tried to take the fall for her. 

Samantha Jo Peterson, 35, of Kellogg, Minnesota, is charged with 21 crimes, including multiple counts of criminal vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs in connection to the Sept. 25, 2023, crash that killed two children and injured two others.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by Fox 9, just before 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2023, authorities responded to a crash involving a vehicle and an Amish buggy.

The report detailed that the crash killed 7-year-old Wilma Miller and 11-year-old Irma Miller, while their 9-year-old brother sustained “great bodily injury”, and the 13-year-old child suffered “substantial bodily injury.”

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Scene of fatal buggy crash

Prosecutors have charged a woman they say hit an Amish buggy in southeastern Minnesota last fall, killing two children in the process.  (Fox 9)

When officers arrived, Samantha Jo Peterson and her twin sister, Sarah, were both at the scene. Sarah insisted she was the driver who hit the buggy, according to a criminal complaint.

Text messages obtained by law enforcement show Samantha Jo Petersen tried to get her twin sister to take the fall for the crash because she was high on methamphetamine and feared going to prison, the complaint alleges. But their alleged cover story quickly unraveled as investigators dug into the case, the complaint states.

The complaint also alleges that surveillance video obtained from the employer’s parking lot and video from a deputy’s squad car dash camera show Samantha Jo Peterson switching clothes with her twin at the crash scene to attempt to throw off investigators. 

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Scene of Sept. 25, 2023 fatal Amish buggy crash

Two children, ages 11 and 7, were killed in the crash. A 9-year-old child sustained “great bodily injury”, and the 13-year-old child suffered “substantial bodily injury,” charges say.  (Fox 9)

According to the complaint, while the deputy stepped away, Samantha Jo Petersen can be heard telling her sister, “I think one of the guys is onto me, but I really don’t care,” and “there’s no way they would ever know the difference between the two of us, so they can’t tell.”

Investigators executed a search warrant and a review of cell phone records revealed Samantha Jo Petersen searched “What happens if you get in an accident with an Amish buggy and kill two people,” on her phone, the complaint states. 

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Samantha Jo Petersen’s criminal history also shows she was convicted of fourth-degree DWI on Oct. 15, 2015, third-degree DWI on Aug. 6, 2018 and giving a false name to police on March 15, 2007.

Samantha Jo Petersen will make her first court appearance on March 25.

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