Three people in horse-drawn carriage injured when horse bolts
Three people were injured Thursday when a carriage horse broke free in Columbus Circle and bolted for its stable, official sand witnesses said.
The mayhem started at around 4:20 p.m., when the horse's driver tried to make a sharp turn into the park at the north side of Columbus Circle, witnesses said. The horse lost its balance and went into a frenzy, according to Sidiki Tapsoba, who arranges pedicab rides in the park.
"The horse lost control," said Tapsoba. "The horse ran, trying to go back to the place it lives."
The horse quickly slammed into a parked van, splitting the carriage in two and spilling the two terrified passengers in the backseat onto the pavement, where the man slammed his head. Then it took off down W. 60th Street, hitting into a livery car and shedding the rest of its cab.
An officer at the scene said the horse ran to Ninth Avenue, where it made a left turn and then waited at the red light. A female pedestrian was able to grab hold of the horse's reigns briefly, and a police officer reportedly tied it up to a nearby pole.
Cops shot the horse with a tranquilizer gun, a witness told The New York Times. Video obtained by amNewYork showed the horse struggling briefly while it was tied up before collapsing.
A police spokesman said he did not believe the horse was hit with a tranquilizer dart, and said it was taken back to its stable. The horse reportedly suffered minor injuries.
The couple was in stable condition at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, according to a police spokesman. The driver was taken to Bellevue Hospital, and was also in stable condition Thursday night. Those injured were not identifed.
State Sen. Tony Avella, (D -- Bayside) who has introduced legislation prohibiting horse-drawn carriage rides in the city, said accidents like Thursday's were a "prime example" of why the horses should be banned.
"Enough is enough," Avella said in a statement. "How many more accidents, injuries and deaths is it going to take before we end this inhumane industry?"
"The time has come to ban horse-drawn cabs in the city," he added. "We can no longer justify the risk of serious injury or death to these animals or to the public."