Dead horse gets loose, causes multi-car crash
03:24 PM CST on Wednesday, February 7, 2007
HOUMA -- A utility trailer carrying a dead horse came loose from the truck that was pulling it Tuesday morning on the Dularge overpass, causing a three-vehicle crash that shut down the busy bridge for over an hour.
The crash happened shortly before 10:30 a.m. when an 18-foot trailer being pulled by a 1999 Ford F-350 truck traveling south on the bridge came unhitched. The driver of the truck was 54-year-old Mark P. Himmel of Schriever, police said.
Strapped in the open trailer was a 29-year-old mare that died of natural causes and was on its way to the landfill to be cremated, said Houma Police spokesman Lt. Todd Duplantis.
The crash happened just as Himmel drove onto western foot of the bridge. The trailer came loose because it was not properly fastened to the truck, Duplantis said.
"The trailer was unsecured, it didn’t have security chains on," he said.
Once the trailer was free, it slammed into the right wall of the overpass before careening across the bridge and hitting a 1997 Chevrolet Lumina, traveling north and driven by 52-year-old Marie Pierre of Houma.
The trailer didn’t stop after hitting the Chevy, Duplantis said, but instead struck the car behind Pierre, a 1999 Toyota Corolla driven by 23-year-old Akeem Johnson of Houma.
The trailer stopped once it was imbedded in the bridge’s left wall, Duplantis said. During the multi-car crash, the dead horse remained secured inside the open trailer.
Pierre was taken to Terrebonne General Medical Center with minor injuries to her ribs, Duplantis said, adding her car was totaled. No one else was injured in the crash, but the overpass was shut down for over an hour while crews worked to clear the wreckage and extract the trailer from the bridge’s wall, Duplantis said. The bridge was reopened shortly before noon.
Himmel was ticketed for failure to secure a load, Duplantis said.