Police: Carriage driver injured when 'dinosaur' spooked horses

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  May 19, 2017 at 10:59 AM
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May 19 (UPI) -- Police in South Carolina said a person in a dinosaur costume spooked a team of carriage horses, leading to the driver suffering a broken foot.

Charleston Police said the person, who was dressed as a Tyrannosaurus Rex, was walking on the sidewalk of Church Street in front of the horse-drawn carriage about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

"When the carriage got to 160 Church St., the individual in the costume stopped and began making growling noises at the horses," police spokesaman Charles Francis told the Post and Courier newspaper. "This spooked the horses and they began backing up. The carriage then struck an unoccupied vehicle and caused minor damage to its bumper."

The carriage driver lost his balance and fell near one of the vehicle's wheels, which ran over his leg.

"The driver was transported to the hospital and suffered a broken foot. The horse named Yogi received very minor abrasions and is resting well back at the Big Red Barn with the other horse named Boo Boo," Tommy Doyle, manager of Palmetto Carriage Works, said in a statement.

The statement indicated "radical animal rights activists" may have been connected to the incident.

"The City of Charleston needs to condemn these tactics and warn groups that encourage this behavior that their rhetoric is fueling this danger," Doyle said.

Some witnesses disputed police claims that the person in the costume growled at the horses. They said the incident appeared unintentional.

"I don't think [the costumed person] was antagonizing them at all," Swails told WCIV-TV. "[They] froze, in fact, and didn't know what to do."

Gary and Shelby Salvador, tourists who witnessed the incident while dining outside at Tommy Condon's Restaurant, agreed the incident appeared accidental.

They said they got close enough to the dinosaur to see it was a woman in the costume.

"I didn't hear any [growling]," Shelby Salvador said. "I think it was just happenstance. I think she was going somewhere and then the horses were coming down the road at the same time. It looked like it was just a freak accident."

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