Saturday, September 27, 2003 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . SEPTEMBER 27, 2003 . . . A truck hauling three horses to Turfway Park for today’s races ended up on its side in the middle of I-71 north near I-75 in northern Kentucky this morning, trapping the horses and their grooms inside. The accident occurred near mile marker 63 when the truck slipped off the left shoulder and then overturned when the driver tried to steer it back onto the highway. No other vehicles were involved. The accident occurred at 10:52 a.m. Northbound I-71 was closed until 1:22 p.m.
Kentucky State Trooper David Trimble was helping a motorist fix a flat tire when he heard the truck brake and looked up to see the accident occur. He said the truck overturned and slid 380 feet down the center of the highway before stopping.
The horses were being brought to the Florence track from Churchill Downs in Louisville. The grooms traveling with the animals, Herve Arreondo, Romel Campos, and Simon Morales, refused treatment. The driver, Richard Head, was taken to St. Luke Hospital West in Florence, where he was treated and released.
According to Turfway Park Assistant Racing Secretary Tyler Picklesimer, Donna Mathers, a veterinarian practicing at the track today, was dispatched to the scene along with a van to transport the horses back to their barns in Louisville. Because the truck’s doors opened from its now-inaccessible sides, the horses were sedated and the back of the truck was cut away using the Jaws of Life and saws. The horses were then led out and loaded onto the van for the return trip to Louisville.
Brooks Becraft, a racing steward at Turfway, reported that the three horses involved were Go Jeanaie Go, trained by Dravo Foley; Hush U Dreamer, trained by Thomas V. Smith; and Lady Leslie, trained by Forrest Kaelin. The three trainers reported that their horses, all fillies, had been checked by their own vets and were scratched and bruised but otherwise unharmed. “This was my first experience with something like this,” said Foley. “At a time like this you think of the people first, not the horses. But we’re glad everyone involved seems to be OK.”