November 25, 2011
The roof of a Nissan SUV was sheared off Thursday when the driver hit a horse wandering in the westbound lane of Interstate 64 near Charlottesville.
Virginia State Police said the accident happened around 7:30pm. Once struck, the horse went airborne and the force of the impact peeled back the roof of the car.
The driver and passenger in the car were both injured, one seriously. Rescuers had to use the Jaws of Life to get one of the victims out of the mangled wreckage.
Both were taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.
Another horse was also loose but it was returned safely to it's owners.
On Friday, CBS19 confirmed that the horse belonged the owners of a neighboring farm called "Olde Poorhouse Farm," in Keswick. The Johnson's have lived, ridden and bred horses there for 40 years.
The owner, Bill Johnson, spoke off-camera saying they've had horses get loose before but nothing like this.
Johnson says his family has owned the horse "Bunny" for about 20 years. He suspects that it and the other horse got loose because they were spooked. That's when the horses ran down the road, onto the ramp and into oncoming highway traffic on I-64.
Johnson's neighbor, Pat Schuler owns Foxtrot Farm. She says it's not uncommon for a horse to become loose.
"If something is in the field and it spooks them or scares them they can start running around and crash through a fence or if someone leaves a gate open," Schuler said.
Johnson says he suspects the horses ran down the driveway and doesn't recall a fence being left open.
"They are animal lovers," Schuler said about the Johnsons. "I'm sure they are very upset over this."
One lane of the interstate was shut down for about an hour Thursday.