Hartly man arrested in connection with fatal buggy crash

HARTLY – The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit has arrested a Hartly man in connection with the Aug. 31 hit-and-run crash that killed an Amish buggy driver.

Robert H. Eckeard, 29, was taken into custody Wednesday, Sept. 6, at his residence by detectives and transported to Troop 3 where he was charged with leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death, failure to report a collision resulting in death, failure to show proof of insurance, and expired tags.  He was arraigned at JP2 and committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on $7,002.00 cash bond.

Robert H. Eckeard

State Police said the incident occurred around 8:05 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, as Ervin D. Miller, 55 of Hartly, was operating a horse drawn carriage westbound on Halltown Road attempting to make a left turn into Royal Farms at the intersection with Hartly Road.  Eckeard, according to police, was operating a 1997 Chevrolet Lumina eastbound on Route 8 and collided with the carriage, ejecting Mr. Miller and his 55-year-old wife into the roadway. Police said the driver then continued eastbound on Route 8 without stopping.

Mr. Miller was transported by EMS to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.  His wife was also transported to the hospital, where she was treated and has recently been released.

State Police, in their news release, thanked the public for their assistance provided by calling tips into Delaware Crime Stoppers.

The fleeing vehicle had been described as a dark colored older style passenger car that may have sustained considerable damage to the front bumper, hood, and window.

The horse detached itself from the carriage and ran from the scene, later to be located back at the residence of the victims. It is unknown if it sustained any injuries.

Del. 8 eastbound and westbound was closed for 3 1/2 hours in the immediate aftermath as the crash was investigated and cleared.

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