PLYMOUTH, Maine — A white quarter horse named Jack was hit and killed and another horse was injured Tuesday night by a local man driving home from dinner, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy Noel Santiago said Wednesday.
Horse owner Jennifer Smith had just been kicked off Jack about 8 p.m. and was walking him down the side of Ridge Road with friend and neighbor Judy Keyser, who was walking a Percheron mix, when the collision occurred.
“She actually fell off the horse and that probably saved her life,” Santiago said. “The horse probably saved her life.”
Jack’s saddle was embedded in the front window of the car driven by Phillip Hopkins, 31, of Plymouth, who was accompanied by a 21-year-old female passenger, the deputy said.
“The horse was struck and killed and the other horse was injured,” Santiago said. “The severity of the injuries I don’t know.”
Animal Control Officer Danielle Rauscher said the second horse suffered front knee and back leg injuries.
“They’re coming back today to do X-rays on his back legs because the swelling has increased,” Rauscher said Wednesday, referring to the veterinarian.
Hopkins’ passenger “was transported [to a local hospital] for a small puncture wound to her arm from the windshield’s glass,” Santiago said. Hopkins also was treated at the scene for cuts from broken glass.
The deputy said he didn’t believe alcohol or speed were factors in the deadly collision and he did not expect any charges would be filed.
“Everybody was really, really upset,” Rauscher said.
Because the sun had set at 7:30 p.m., a neighbor was out following the two equestrian riding friends in his truck, she said.
“They had a friend that was following along with them with hazard lights on because it was getting to dusk,” Rauscher said, adding Santiago told her the vehicle and animals caused a bottleneck effect on the roadway.
The animal control officer agreed with Santiago’s assessment about the horse saving its owner’s life.
“If Jen had been on that horse she would have been in that windshield,” she said.