JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department helped save two horses that were inside a trailer that overturned early Monday evening on Interstate 295.
The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. as the driver, a Putnam County woman, was trying to exit onto northbound Interstate 95 in the southern end of Duval County.
"All I saw was a cloud of black dust when the trailer came loose," Christine Desrosiers, the horses' owner, told News4Jax on Tuesday.
It was a horse owner's worst nightmare. Her trailer overturned with both of her precious horses inside. Desrosiers said, if it wasn't for JFRD, her 17-year-old gelding named Cash wouldn't be here.
"I am very thankful for their help and their willingness to learn about horses and helping extract my gelding from my older horse trailer," she said. "My horse trailer was sound. I had it inspected previous to even setting out on this trip, and it passed inspection."
Desrosiers said she was pulling the trailer behind a U-Haul truck, heading for Maine, when someone cut her off as she was trying to exit.
Owner says horses are fine after crash
Witness Pristine Properties said a smaller horse was pulled out first and then the larger one. The second one was pinned in his stall, and the top of the trailer had to be removed.
Properties said she called 911 and asked first responders to keep their sirens off so they wouldn't spook the horses.
Desrosiers said the gelding and her 9-year-old mare named Rose are expected to be OK.
"The mare was trapped but we were able to get her out before rescue arrived. The gelding, he was actually trapped under the divider under the mare because the mare actually ended up in his side of the trailer. But she was standing up when the trailer came to rest so we were able to get her to lower her head and back her out of the trailer," Desrosiers said. "The gelding received most of the injuries, when they wouldn’t let me stay there to keep him calm and they were trying to get him out of the trailer. He was freaking out with them getting the Jaws of Life. When he came out of the trailer, he ran through where they had cut and it had rugged edges. That’s where he received most of his injuries."
Desrosiers said she broke her hand in three places while trying to calm Cash when he was trapped in the flipped trailer. She wants other drivers to take note and be more patient and cautious around horse trailers.
"If you are in a small car, don't tailgate. Don't cut off a person pulling a horse trailer because this is what can happen," she said. "Be considerate on the road. Be considerate of the animals people are hauling. Think of it as your kid. Would you cut off somebody that has your kid in their car?"
Trailering horses is not an easy task, especially with all the bridges to cross and the traffic to contend with in the Jacksonville area.