Mennonites forgive teen who crashed into horse-drawn carriage killing 7-year-old

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FARMINGTON, Mo. — A Mennonite minister in Missouri says the community has forgiven a 16-year-old who slammed into a horse-drawn carriage and killed a 7-year-old.

Clay Zimmerman, of the Farmington Mennonite Church, says men in the community met with the teen because they wanted him to know they weren’t “harboring ill will” and that they “didn’t want him to carry a heavy burden throughout life.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the crash happened around 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 11.

Authorities said Thursday it’s unlikely that the teen will face a manslaughter charge because he wasn’t drunk or driving recklessly before the July 11 crash in St. Francois County. The collision left Mervin Shirk dead and seriously injured four members of his family, including two other children.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Dallas Thompson says the teen had only had his driver’s license for a few weeks.

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