Tulsa Police: Caretaker Blames County For Highway Horse Wrecks - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tulsa Police: Caretaker Blames County For Highway Horse Wrecks

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Six horses died and two drivers were hurt when a group of 20 to 30 horses escaped from a pasture at Green Hill Farms in the early-morning hours last Friday. Six horses died and two drivers were hurt when a group of 20 to 30 horses escaped from a pasture at Green Hill Farms in the early-morning hours last Friday.
According to the Tulsa Police report on the incident, the horses' caretaker, Joe Casey, told police that "the horses had escaped through a down[ed] fence that the 'County' had taken down to complete some type of repair work in the area." According to the Tulsa Police report on the incident, the horses' caretaker, Joe Casey, told police that "the horses had escaped through a down[ed] fence that the 'County' had taken down to complete some type of repair work in the area."
"We have not seen any evidence to show that our contractor was negligent in any way," said John Smaligo, County Commissioner. "We have not seen any evidence to show that our contractor was negligent in any way," said John Smaligo, County Commissioner.

NewsOn6.com

TULSA, OK -- The caretaker for a group of polo horses that were killed on a U.S. highway in Tulsa last week blamed their escape from their pasture on a Tulsa County work crew.

Six horses died and two drivers were hurt when a group of 20 to 30 horses escaped from a pasture at Green Hill Farms near 56th Street North and U.S. Highway 169 in the early-morning hours last Friday.

Related story:  10/16/09  Two Injured In Collision With Runaway Horses On Tulsa Highway

The incident forced Tulsa Police to close 169 in both directions for more than three hours.

The crashes seriously injured the driver of a Ford Mustang and the driver of a Dodge Neon.

Tulsa Police identified the driver of the Mustang as 35-year-old Brandon Osborn and the driver of the Neon as 19-year-old Tristan Underwood.

Both drivers have improved since being hospitalized, with a spokesperson reporting that each is now in fair condition.

Related story:  10/19/09  Driver's Condition Improves After Last Week's Horse Accident 

According to the Tulsa Police report on the incident, the horses' caretaker, Joe Casey, told police that "the horses had escaped through a down[ed] fence that the 'County' had taken down to complete some type of repair work in the area."

Tulsa Police isn't confirming that story, only saying that part of a fence was down.

"There was only one location where there was actually a fence down, so we're confident that that's where the horses came from," said Officer Jason Willingham, Tulsa Police.

County Commissioners say they're spending $13,000 on a fence project, but the contract is to build a new one.

"Nothing in the contract called for any fence repair, any fence removal. It was simply to install a fence," said John Smaligo, County Commissioner.

The News On 6 obtained a copy of the contract with Magnum Fence. It only mentions fence installation. When a The News On 6 crew visited the area where police say the horses got out, they saw Magnum Fence employees installing barb wire.

"We have not seen any evidence to show that our contractor was negligent in any way," said John Smaligo, County Commissioner.

Smaligo says it's not the county's fault that the horses escaped.

A News On 6 crew went to Green Hill Farms looking for a comment from either the owner, or the head caretaker, but neither person was on site Tuesday afternoon.

Tulsa Police say they don't recall any other horses from the farm escaping their pasture onto the highway.

Green Hill Farms is located at 12020 East 56th Street North, which is just east of U.S. Highway 169.

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