Horses Killed in Trailer Accident

A livestock trailer traveling from Minnesota to Kentucky and carrying 52 horses overturned, tumbled down an embankment, and crashed into a utility pole, breaking it in half. A small fire ignited from downed wires, according to the police report. The accident occurred just north of Lawrenceburg, Ind., on Route 1 at about 1 p.m. on Sept. 15. At least 21 horses are dead after the accident, while two horses sustained major injuries and others, minor injuries, according to witnesses on the scene.

Many of the area equine veterinarians were out of town at a continuing education conference at Purdue University, so only one veterinarian, John Nenni, DVM, of Bright Veterinary Clinic in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and Sherri Grote, a veterinary technician, were available to tend to the injured animals at the accident scene.

"The horses that had major injuries that would inhibit their continuation (of life) were euthanatized at the scene," said Nenni. "Those that had minor injuries, such as lacerations and other minor flesh wounds, were loaded back on another trailer after treatment and are now believed to be at their intended destination on a farm in Kentucky."

Many of the horses that survived the crash are believed to have been flung out of the trailer as it was rolling down the hill, preventing them from being crushed inside the trailer and cut by twisted pieces of metal.

"All of the horses were on a double-decker cattle trailer," said Nenni. "I assume they came from an auction in Minnesota because they were wearing rump tags."

The horses are believed by the veterinarian to have been purchased to be resold as trail and riding horses.

There were three humans in the truck at the time of the accident; all were treated and released at the scene. The driver of the truck, Kristopher Ramey, has received one citation for the accident, according to the Dearborn County Sherriff Law Enforcement Center, but there is still an ongoing investigation into the crash. The owner of the horses, Jodi Ramey, of Flemingsburg, Ky., and the other passenger, were not charged.

Two residents of Flemingsburg, Ky., who wished to remain unnamed, stated they know of Jodi Ramey, said he is a reputable horse dealer in their area who provides horses to summer camps and trail riding facilities, and doubt the horses were destined to be taken to slaughter.

The two-lane stretch of road the rig was traveling on is frequently used by tractor trailer drivers in order to avoid weigh stations, according to the Dearborn County Sheriff's office. This causes many traffic accidents, as it's a 55-mph country road that is not suited for large vehicles at high speeds. The cause of the accident is undetermined, noted police, but it has been speculated that the trailer was carrying too much weight.

About the Author

Marcella M. Reca Zipp, MS

Marcella Reca Zipp, M.S., is a former staff writer for The Horse. She is completing her doctorate in Environmental Education and researching adolescent relationships with horses and nature. She lives with her family, senior horse, and flock of chickens on an island in the Chain O'Lakes.

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