Two horses died and six more suffered injuries as a result of a one-car crash early this morning on Old San Marcos Road south of Highway 154, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Driver Mathew Gilespie, a 54-year-old Arizona resident working for a professional horse transport company, was pulling a trailer of eight horses in a seven-horse-capacity trailer when he “failed to negotiate a curve” on the road, causing the trailer to hit the shoulder and nearly flip over.

According to the CHP, the horses were thrown around as a result, landing on their heads and shoulders. Gilespie tried to release the frightened horses from the trailer. CHP officers, Sheriff’s Department deputies, and agents from Santa Barbara Animal Services, the Santa Barbara Humane Society, and three area veterinarians all showed up to help. A female horse died of her injuries, a male horse had to be euthanized, and five others were taken to Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Santa Ynez. One male horse was returned to his stable with only minor injuries.

The CHP said alcohol and drugs didn’t play a role in the crash, but that it is under investigation.


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