Police quarter horse hits parked car and dies in East Baltimore chase

August 05, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

A horse being ridden by a police officer was killed yesterday when the animal struck a car parked on an East Baltimore street as the officer tried to join a nearby foot chase.

The officer, who was riding the 14-year-old American quarter horse called Bozman, was thrown from his mount and tumbled over the four-door Toyota Lexus, but he was not seriously injured.

The accident scene in the 1000 block of N. Patterson Park Ave., near East Chase Street, drew dozens of officers and commanders, including at least five other officers in the mounted unit.

"It is an excellent unit," said Lt. John D. Smith, who oversees the 21 officers and 22 horses, which are concentrating on high-crime areas because of their increased visibility. "A lot of them are a little shaken up."

Police said the accident occurred about 11:40 a.m., when three mounted officers riding north on North Patterson Park Avenue were trying to join other officers chasing two men who had just broken into a house a block away.

As they approached the Toyota, two officers went around to the left, and Officer Lloyd Caster, 43, a 22-year veteran, tried to ride to the right by having the horse step up on the curb and onto a strip of grass. "For whatever reason, the horse lost its balance and struck the rear of the vehicle," said Officer Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman.

The spokesman said that the horse, which had been with the police for one year, died at the scene. Officers arrested the fleeing men. The horse's body was dragged onto a flat-bed truck and taken to a company called Valley Protein in Curtis Bay, which will ship the carcass out of state and process it into poultry feed, said Neil Gagnon, the general manager.

"It's not a real rosy ending for an animal such as this," Mr. Gagnon said. "I don't know why the city didn't bury it."

Officer Caster was treated for a shoulder injury at Johns Hopkins Hospital and released.

"The horse is your partner," said Officer Therman Reed, who had a horse die in the line of duty in 1990. "It's like you just lost your best friend.

"It's kind of hard to explain."

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