Driver encounters horse off course

By on April 10, 2013

By: TIFFANY WOODALL Review Staff, Staff Writer

A horse pulling an unoccupied buggy became out of control at 4:30 p.m. April 4, running over its owner/operator and fleeing west on Main Street, according to Ephrata Police.

"The owner of the horse was leading it on foot in an attempt to calm the horse, as it had become spooked for an unknown reason," said Ephrata Police Sergeant Philip Snavely. "No one else was injured in this accident."

The police were first dispatched to a vehicle accident in the first block of East Main Street. The horse broke free from its owner, Dorkis Reiff, who fell to the ground in the area near the Re-Uzit Shop.

According to police, Reiff was transported to Ephrata Community Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

The horse continued pulling the buggy west through the square until it struck two vehicles, which were stopped in traffic facing east in the 100 block of West Main Street. Police said after the impact, the buggy detached from the horse and the horse continued west, striking an additional vehicle.

The unrestrained horse ran through the 300 block of West Main Street where it struck a fourth vehicle. The horse was detained shortly thereafter on Academy Drive, north of West Main Street, and was recovered by family members.

"I thought it was going to hit my car, so I covered my ears because I thought it was going to be loud," said Rachel Schlegel, an employee at Lancaster County Weeklies who was stopped at a traffic signal at the intersection of West Main Street and Academy Drive on her way home from work. "People were honking, so I checked my mirrors," she said. The horse was running on the roadway adjacent to the sidewalk, and it stopped beside her car. She saw the horse fall over, pick itself up and then fall into the car stopped in front of her on West Main Street as it attempted to gain its balance. Schlegel then said it cut through a West Main Street property before she last saw it traveling on Academy Drive.

Snavely said police did not seek witness statements as the information was not needed to determine the cause of the accident or to assist in prosecuting an accident-related crime.

"Obviously no crime occurred here," he said. "The crash is handled just like any other crash from a police perspective. We do the same report no matter the type of vehicle, whether it is a car, tractor trailer, horse and buggy, bike, tractor, moped, etc."

Snavely said there are no regulations regarding the operation of horse-and-buggies in the Borough. More HORSE, page A17

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