Savannah carriage horse runs wild

Katie Martin/ Morris News Service
Glass from a damaged car is cleaned up in Savannah on Monday after a horse ran loose with a carriage and its passengers.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:23 PM
Last updated 6:20 PM
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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A spooked horse and the carriage it was pulling caused havoc for six blocks Monday afternoon in downtown Savannah, damaging five vehicles along Congress Street and injuring the driver of the carriage.

The driver, Ashley Bignault, was taken to Memorial University Medical Center. The extent of her injuries were unknown Monday afternoon, said police spokesman Julian Miller.

Miller said the five passengers on the carriage, including three children, escaped serious injury. One of the passengers, a 67-year-old woman, was treated at a nearby urgent care center and released.

Miller said the incident started near Barnard and Bryan streets when the horse began to run and a bridle became dislodged making it difficult to control the horse. The horse ran to the south side of Ellis Square and continued east on Congress street before the driver was ejected.

“We think some of the tack broke and the horse became spooked and then struck several vehicles,” Miller said. “It spilled the passengers, and then the horse somehow went around the block before heading down the lane.”

View user-submitted photos of the incident.

The horse-drawn carriage involved belongs to Historic Savannah Carriage Tours. According to the company’s website they have a fleet of nine horses and six carriages. It was not clear which horse or carriage was involved in Monday’s accident, which closed several portions of Congress, Bull and Whitaker streets as Savannah-Chatham police investigated the scene.

A person who answered the telephone at the firm said they would have no comment.

Witnesses described the horse and carriage bouncing off cars “like a pin ball” and reported seeing the horse in full gallop running down Congress street as the driver of the carriage stood up trying to take control of the horse.

Miller said employees from a nearby restaurant were able to get control of the horse near Bull street and calmed it down by feeding it carrots.

He said no injury to the horse was reported, and it was transported out of the downtown area.

In his three-and-a-half years with the police department, Miller said, this was the first incident involving a horse-drawn carriage.

He said the Major Accident Investigation Team continues to investigate and a full report is expected later.


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