A Florida man is alleged by police to have rammed his pickup truck into a horse, killing the animal and breaking the rider’s collarbone.
The man, 21-year-old Christopher T. Todd, has been charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty over the incident, which deputies said followed a heated verbal exchange.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said the incident unfolded early on Sunday – around 1.15am – at French Landing along the St Johns River near Orange City, Florida.
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that the rider and three others – family and friends – were at the landing when Todd drove up at speed in his white 2015 Dodge Ram pickup.
The statement said Todd almost drove it into the river in the same area where group members were giving their horses a break.
One of the riders approached the truck, yelling at Todd to open his window. When he lowered it slightly, she told Todd her group was leaving, and not to speed.
A short verbal altercation followed, according to the statement, with Todd said to have used an expletive and the rider said to have used a racial slur.
The account says Todd accelerated, spinning up dirt as he drove away. He then allegedly made a U-turn, coming back toward the horses and riders.
“The group split in different directions, but one horse, a black Tennessee Walker, stopped in its tracks,” deputies reported.
It is alleged by deputies that Todd struck the horse, unseating the rider, 23-year-old Chloe Sloan – who was not the rider involved in the initial verbal exchange – on to the hood of his truck.
“Todd continued pressing the gas as Sloan fell off the hood and the horse came off the front grill,” according to deputies.
Sloan ran into the nearby woods to take cover as Todd reportedly circled around the dying horse, shining his headlights into the area where she was hiding. He then drove away.
Sloan suffered a broken collar bone in the incident. The horse died at the scene a short time later.
The sheriff’s office issued a lookout alert for Todd’s truck.
At 3.39am, a deputy stopped it in the Seville area for allegedly speeding, about 33 miles north of where the incident occurred. Todd was arrested.
Two members of Sloan’s group identified the truck.
It is alleged that horse hair was found in the grill.
Todd has been charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty and taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he was being held on a $US10,000 bond.