According to the most recent statistics from the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Geauga County, Ohio is home to the fourth-largest Amish community in the country. By using a variety of sources, the Center has estimated that some 18,325 adults and children live in the Geauga County settlement, which spills over into neighboring Ashtabula and Trumbull counties.
And speaking of Trumbull County, sheriff's deputies would very much like to identify two of those 18,235 Amish people, specifically the ones who ran from an officer after they were seen chugging beer in their horse-drawn buggy.
Early last Sunday morning, a deputy was on patrol when he allegedly saw the two men drinking in their buggy—and he also noticed that the buggy had a stereo system and a 12-pack of beer strapped to the roof. The unnamed officer attempted to question the men, but they jumped out of the buggy and ran into the woods. The horse also took off, because he's apparently no snitch.
"I've never operated an Amish buggy with a horse, but I'm told that the horse will know the way home regardless of the operator is awake or even in the buggy, and that horse went a little further down the road and onto an oil-gas well-road and stopped,” Chief Deputy Joe Dragovich told FOX 8 Cleveland.
The cop eventually caught up to the horse. The buggy was towed away, and the horse was temporarily handed off to a local farmer until it can be claimed by the alleged suspects. And yes, apparently it's still against the law to drink, even when you're behind the… wheel (or whatever) of an odd-toed ungulate.
"Unfortunately, they're not licensed as far as the buggy goes, but it is a vehicle, it's on the roadway and the [operating a vehicle under the influence] laws do apply," Dragovich said. "You're not allowed to drink and drive or operate a buggy."
If the two men are identified, they could be charged with failure to comply with a deputy's commands. (VICE has reached out to the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office for additional comment but has not yet received a response.)
Their community might not be stoked about that stereo system, either: Most settlements in Geauga County are Old Order Amish—the kind of traditional Amish most of us think about when we hear the word "Amish"—which still frown on pretty much everything with a plug or a power button.
"The Amish are averse to any technology, which they feel weakens the family structure," Amish Geauga explains. "The conveniences that the rest of us take for granted such as electricity, television, automobiles, and telephones are considered to be a temptation that could cause vanity, create inequality, or lead the Amish away from their close-knit community and, as such, are not encouraged or accepted in most orders."
In June, a 34-year-old Amish man was arrested in Smiths Grove, Kentucky for allegedly drinking and driving his own buggy. According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Reuben Yoder sideswiped a car as he attempted to clip-clop through an intersection. His wife and seven children were in the buggy at the time, and Yoder initially told the cops that one of the kids was responsible for the crash. (The children were between the ages of nine months and 12 years.)
The officer on the scene said that Yoder smelled like booze, was slurring his speech, and had bloodshot eyes. After failing a field sobriety test and admitting that he'd "consumed alcoholic beverages," he was arrested. In August, he was indicted by a grand jury on nine counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree criminal mischief and operating a non-motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants.
As of this writing, no one back in Ohio has come forward to claim the horse, the buggy, or that 12-pack. "Geauga County has developed a reputation for wild [Amish] youth behavior, an image which has not been helped by newspaper publications about Amish youth misbehavior," the Amish America website harrumphs.
It also hasn't been helped by, um, the wild Amish youth.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.