Written by: Heather Clemenceau
According to a General Occurrence Report by Niagara Regional Police, no charges were filed following the carriage horse accident at King and Picton that resulted when the horse, “Ethan,” spooked and the carriage he was put to subsequently collided with a parked 2017 Lexus RX5. According to the police report, obtained by FOIA request, there are two explanations for what happened, one provided by a witness, who claimed that a second carriage pulled out and clipped Ethan’s carriage, startling him, while the second explanation was provided by the carriage owner, who claimed the accident occurred when “the shaft to the carriage broke off.”
“The horse then went diagonally toward the median on King Street hitting the curb and the horse then bucked its hind legs 3-4 times. The horse then turned 90 degrees and went directly toward the front of the Prince of Wales Hotel (on Picton Street) where the carriage struck a parked (unoccupied) vehicle in the valet stand area. The driver of the carriage fell off the carriage and the horse came to rest and sat on the ground adjacent to the struck vehicle.” ~ FOIA Report
Insofar as the two explanations are concerned, both show that it is not necessary for a third party vehicle to be involved as a cause for a
carriage horse accident. It’s often claimed by supporters of the carriage trade in NOTL that “drivers need to respect carriages,” and that perhaps “cars should be prevented from driving in the tourist areas of NOTL,” as if cars are the sole reason for a carriage accident. It is the law that cars must respect horse carriages of course, but this incident shows that a horse and carriage can get into an accident without any other influential factors, unless you consider a parked car a factor in the accident.
I don’t know which of the two explanations for the cause of the spooking is the more accurate one (perhaps an element of truth to both – clipping one carriage *could* damage the shaft on the other). It’s ironic that two carriages operated by the same company may have had a small altercation causing a huge explosion in the horse (bucking and bolting), or that one of the two shafts on the carriage spontaneously broke off for no apparent reason, as per the police report. By either official explanation, there appears to be no cause to blame anyone else other than the owner/operator for this accident that left one driver injured and Ethan sitting stunned on the lawn next to the Prince of Wales Hotel.
Original FOIA Documents Below: