Ponies break free, injuring 3, at Elm Grove Memorial Day parade
Claps and cheers quickly turned to screams at the Elm Grove Memorial Day parade. Two show ponies picked up their pace and started running towards the end of the route.
"All of a sudden we saw horses coming right towards us and everyone started screaming. Everyone was worried,” Emily Davidson said.
Then the ponies broke loose from their handlers and turned right into the crowd.
"Everyone starts panicking and the next thing you know these two ponies are running towards us and ran over a number of people including my brother-in-law," Larry Kenny explained.
Kenny’s brother-in-law, Richard Marshall, is a veteran. This was his first time at the Elm Grove Memorial Day parade.
"The next thing I knew, I was going across the parking lot,” Marshall said still shocked after the ponies pulled him.
CBS 58 Morning News anchor Jessica Tighe captured the moments parade-goers helped Marshall to his feet. She had just finished participating in the parade with her co-anchor Mike Curkov.
Marshall has scrapes and aches, but he’s going to be okay. Emergency responders rushed a woman and a child to nearby hospitals. The woman has head, ankle, and shoulder injuries. The young boy has cuts.
The ponies finally came to a stop at the corner of Watertown Plank and Elm Grove Road. The handlers told CBS 58, it's possible someone throwing out tennis balls spooked the horses or that the ponies tripped on some of their equipment.
"I think it stepped over the metal part that attaches to the wagon. So the pony got scraped and startled and that's an injury and we're going to get it some stitches. Kids and animals… expect the unexpected," MaryJane Gallo of Erin Meadows Farm in Hartford said.
Investigators with the Elm Grove Police Department say another possibility is that the ponies were startled by kids throwing firework "snaps" on or near the parade route.
Erin Meadows Farm has had ponies in the Elm Grove Memorial Day parade for years, but reps say what happened this year with the animals was a first.
There was an unexpected turn of events before the parade in 2009, but no animals were involved. A family in a minivan got stuck on the railroad tracks on Juneau Boulevard as a train was approaching.
A two-year-old and his mother were trapped in the van. At the last minute, an alert police officer rescued the woman just before the train hit the van.
The officer and the woman’s husband were seriously hurt. The baby, who was still in his carseat, was not injured.