Police: Person in dinosaur suit spooks horses causing carriage driver to fall
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police say someone in a dinosaur suit spooked carriage horses causing the driver to fall on the street in downtown Charleston Thursday afternoon.
Officials with the Charleston Police Department say the incident happened around 5:30 p.m. in the area of Church and Linguard streets.
MOBILE USERS: Click here for pictures from the scene.
According to a report, the person in the dinosaur costume was walking on the sidewalk on Church Street just ahead of the carriage.
Police say when the carriage got to 160 Church St. the person in the costume began to make growling noises at the horse.
This spooked the horses and they began backing up, according to police
The carriage then struck an unoccupied vehicle and caused minor damage to its bumper.
"The driver then lost his balance and fell off the carriage. A wheel on the carriage rolled over one of his legs resulting in him being transported to Roper Hospital with minor injuries," CPD officials said.
A police report states none of the passengers on the carriage or the horses were injured.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 843-743-7200 for the on duty CPD detective.
Tommy Doyle, Manager of Palmetto Carriage Works, said it was their carriage which was approached by the person in the dinosaur costume.
"The person ignored multiple warnings from the carriage driver and bystanders to move away from the horses," Doyle said."The horses reacted, causing the driver to be thrown from the carriage and one of the horses to take a seated position."
According to Doyle, the driver was transported to the hospital and suffered a broken foot.
"The horse named Yogi received very minor abrasions and is resting well back at the Big Red Barn with the other horse named Boo Boo," Doyle said."Today's assault is outrageous and has no place in Charleston. The harassment our horses and mules receive from radical animal rights activists is creating an environment that is dangerous for animals and people. The City of Charleston needs to condemn these tactics and warn groups that encourage this behavior that their rhetoric is fueling this danger."
"Palmetto Carriage Works loves our animals and their well-being is our top priority. We wish we could say the same about the individual in the dinosaur costume and the groups encouraging this dangerous behavior," Doyle said in a statement.
Several residents, workers and tourists reported witnessing the incident.
Video captured by Desmond Sebjornson shows the carriage horses in the middle of the road as the driver falls from the carriage.
"I pulled up to a stop sign and noticed a pedestrian in a full body T-Rex costume and went to take a picture of it," Sebjornson said."I looked down the street and saw the horses begin to panic and backpedal, obviously in fear of the T-Rex costume."
According to Sebjornson, that's when the horses tried to turn around on the road, rocking the cart from side to side.
"At some point the tour guide fell from the cart which is when the cart's wheels ran his legs over," Sebjorn said.
Shelby Salvador said she was visiting Charleston from Jacksonville Beach, Florida to see the Tall Ships when she saw something entirely different as she was eating at a downtown restaurant.
"We saw a T-Rex walking down the street," Salvador said."And seconds later a horse drawn carriage pulled up that was giving a tour with 10 or 12 people onboard."
According to Salvador, the driver of the carriage was yelling at the person in the dinosaur costume to leave and get out of the area.
"The horses stopped and started to back up which caused the carriage to jack knife," Salvador said."It hit a car and in the process the driver pulled out his whip to try to get the horses to go forward and they wouldn't budge."
The next thing Salvador saw was the driver on the ground and the wheel of the carriage drive over his legs.
"Meanwhile people were jumping off the carriage," Salvador said."Everybody got off and really it was kind of calm, but the horses refused to go forward."
Salvador said the person in the dinosaur suit was standing on the side of the road.
"He was just kind of like frozen," Salvador said. "And someone said, 'You got to get out of here. You're causing this problem.'"
She says the whole thing lasted about six or seven minutes.
Krystal Yates was working at the nearby Black Pedora Comedy Mystery Theatre and Shoppe when she heard something outside.
"I heard a lot of people outside yelling and making a commotion," Yates said."The first thing I saw was this huge inflated dinosaur and then I looked over across the street and I saw the horses going crazy. They were really going crazy."
She said she realized they were going crazy because of a "creepy" looking dinosaur.
"The dinosaur guy was just standing there doing nothing," Yates said."Some guys had to run over there and tell him to leave."
According to Yates, after one of the horses collapsed, the carriage workers told the passengers onboard to leave as they calmed the horses down.
"It was kind of sad because you can tell the horses were really shaken up and you kind of felt bad for them," Yates said."It was hard to watch."
The Charleston Animal Society has announced a reward in the incident.
"Charleston Animal Society is offering a $2500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any individual who did this today with the intent to torment the carriage horses," CAS officials said in a statement below.
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