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Police: Car being sought in Wichita fatal horse accident ‘should have some extensive damage’

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, July 8, 2013, at 12:12 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 3, 2014, at 6:54 a.m.

Police are still looking for the driver of a car that struck a horse in northeast Wichita late Friday night, killing its rider and injuring a boy riding with him.

The collision was reported shortly after 10:30 p.m. on 21st Street near Piatt, Lt. Joe Schroeder said Monday. The eastbound car that struck the horse as it was crossing 21st turned north on Piatt and never stopped to check on the victims, he said.

The sedan “should have some extensive damage to the vehicle,” Schroeder said, because the car clipped a back leg, causing the horse to fall onto the hood and perhaps roll over the top of the car.

Lloyd Ferguson, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene, Schroeder said. The boy riding with him, a family friend, remains hospitalized at Wesley Medical Center with injuries not considered life-threatening.

There was is no indication that Ferguson was impaired at the time of the accident, Schroeder said. As standard procedure, testing that accompanies his autopsy will check for the presence of alcohol or drugs.

Court records show that Ferguson had a lengthy record of traffic violations. His Wichita and Sedgwick County traffic record includes three convictions for DUI, one of them a felony, from 1997 to 2003. He also had six convictions for driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, from 2000 to 2012.

He was facing an Aug. 5 hearing in Wichita Municipal Court for traffic charges including no driver’s license and no proof of insurance.

In Friday’s incident, two witnesses who stopped to help were injured when a second vehicle struck them and the two horse riders in the middle of the street, Schroeder said. Those victims, a 17-year-old girl and a 48-year-old man, were also taken to Wesley.

“The 17-year-old was on the phone to 911 when she was hit,” Schroeder said of the girl, who was walking when she saw the collision.

The man who saw the collision was driving west on 21st and stopped to help. He was hurt seriously enough that he will require surgery related to his injuries, Schroeder said.

The horse, which had gotten to its feet and walked to a grassy area next to the street before the second collision, was euthanized by a veterinarian at the scene.

The 62-year-old woman driving the second car stopped immediately and attempted to render aid, Schroeder said. She told police she didn’t see the people in the street until impact.

Street lights on that stretch of 21st weren’t working because of the strong wind storm in late June that knocked power out to thousands, Schroeder said, so the arterial street was darker than normal.

But Westar Energy spokesman Nicholas Bundy said Friday night was the first time the utility had learned the street lights were not working. They were functioning as of Monday morning, he said.

Piatt doesn’t go straight through at 21st, Schroeder said. It jogs a little bit in that area, he said, and the horse was on 21st between the two Piatts.

“They weren’t in a crosswalk or anything like that,” Schroeder said.

It’s legal to ride a horse as a mode of transportation in Wichita, he said, but the horses must wear some sort of reflective gear so they can be seen by oncoming traffic. The quarter horse killed Friday night was not wearing any reflective gear.

“No one can remember a rider being killed” in a collision with a vehicle on a Wichita street “prior to this,” Schroeder said in an e-mail response to questions.

Anyone who has seen a metallic gray sedan with extensive front-end damage in the past few days is asked to call the accident follow-up unit at 316-268-4131.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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