16 injured when stagecoach overturns at camp Horses apparently frightened by boy

August 19, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson and Bill Talbott | Traci A. Johnson and Bill Talbott,Staff Writers

MILLERS -- A stagecoach overturned yesterday at an Old West-style camp in Carroll County, injuring all 16 of the young people aboard -- two of them seriously, police said.

The accident at River Valley Ranch, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line, was blamed on spooked horses. The four horses pulling the coach apparently bolted after a boy jumped from some bushes, a ranch resident said.

Fourteen of the children and young people -- ranging in age from 9 to 19 -- were treated for minor injuries at Carroll County General Hospital (CCGH). Two others were flown by MedEvac helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where they were in fair condition.

A similar stagecoach accident at the camp injured 13 young people in August 1988.

Officials at the multidenominational Christian camp could not be reached for comment last night. Reporters were barred from the premises -- a 500-acre site off Grave Run Road -- after the 2:30 p.m. accident. The young people were taking a weekly ride on the custom-built coach when the accident occurred, according to the ranch resident. The coach rolled onto its side after the horses bolted, throwing some of the victims from the upper seats to the ground.

Victims' names were not divulged by the authorities because some parents had not yet been notified. One of the more seriously injured residents was a second-year college student from Ecuador, who was spending her second summer at the ranch, the ranch resident said.

Four ambulances from Carroll County, three from York County, Pa., and one from Baltimore County arrived at the nearly 40-year-old camp to take 12 of the victims to CCGH. Two other patients arrived at the hospital about 5:30 p.m.

All of those at CCGH were expected to be released after treatment for injuries characterized as mostly cuts, bruises and sprains. Some were being X-rayed for possible fractures, however, officials said.

The camp entertains about 200 resident campers during each week-long session. It features swimming, horseback riding, hikes and campfire fellowship, as well as stagecoach rides.

The Rev. John Bisset, 76, former pastor of Overlea Baptist Church and the camp's co-director, called it a "a Western vacation with spiritual values" in an earlier Sun interview.

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