Owner Sentenced in Illinois Trailer Accident Case

The former owner of 59 draft horses involved in a 2007 tractor-trailer truck rollover accident in Illinois was sentenced to supervision and ordered to pay $4,000 in fines and restitution in connection with the incident.

The accident occurred Oct. 27 when a truck hauling the horses in a double-decker trailer from Indiana to Minnesota overturned in Wadsworth, Ill. A total of 17 animals perished due to accident-related injuries, either on the scene or within days of the incident. The surviving horses were placed in the care of the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society (HARPS).

Keith Tongen, the horses' original owner, was charged with five counts of animal cruelty, but pleaded guilty to one count of reckless conduct under a plea agreement.

On May 1, Lake County Circuit Court Judge Philip Lawler sentenced Tongen to two years supervision and $1,000 in fines. He also ordered Tongen to pay $1,500 restitution to the Newport Township Fire Protection District for accident response costs, and $1,500 to HARPS for the care of the surviving horses.

For more on the accident see Agriculture Officials Join Illinois Trailer Accident Investigation and Some Illinois Trailer Accident Survivors Moved to New Homes.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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