Carriage driver injured in Charleston accident, horse now retired

FILE

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Multiple accidents are drawing attention to a fixture in Charleston — the horse-drawn carriages that cater to tourists.

A recent incident involved a damaged car and it’s prompting concern from animal rights activists.

The collision happened near Anson and Pinckney Street, according to Charleston Police. The carriage horse, named Lucas, was excited about returning to the barn and galloped off in the direction of his base.

While no passengers were hurt, the driver of the carriage was injured after being thrown from his seat and the horse involved in the mishap is now in retirement.

It’s not the first time a carriage horse in Charleston got spooked or injured while working. The event comes a few weeks after someone dressed as a dinosaur reportedly startled a carriage horse near the area of Church Street and Linguard Street.

Animal rights advocates want to see changes made.

“We advocate for a real scientific study to reform the system and ensure that the operators are following the law and that the city is enforcing the law,” said Joe Elmore, the CEO of the Charleston Animal Society. “I believe over the past year there have been 20 incidents, which is far too many compared to other cities.”

In this week’s incident, which occurred on Monday at about 5:30 p.m., a parked car was damaged after the horse turned onto Pickney Street and crossed a curb.

One wheel of the carriage ended up going over the driver’s leg before it came to a halt, according to the incident report from police.

No passengers were injured, but the driver did suffer minor injuries. He was taken to Medical University Hospital for evaluation, and is reportedly in “good condition.”

Charleston Carriage Works, which oversees the carriage involved in the incident, did not respond to our request for comment.

The general manager of Palmetto Carriage Works released a statement saying all of the working animals are well taken care of and that the company adheres to safety precautions.

“We take the well-being and safety of our animals and customers very seriously,” said Tommy Doyle, the general manager. “We begin everyday with a safety briefing with our drivers and we inspect the day’s routes.”

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