- Last Updated: 7:36 AM, August 17, 2012
- Posted: 2:42 AM, August 17, 2012
A Central Park carriage horse pulling two passengers broke free of its reins yesterday, crashing into a parked van and a moving car before being corralled several blocks away.
The young steed was on Central Park South near Columbus Circle in the afternoon when it was spooked by a noise from a double-parked utility van and galloped off with a couple in the carriage and no driver in the seat.
Witnesses said the driver, Mehmet Dundar, had been outside the carriage with the reins in his hands, turning the horse, named Oreo, around when it bolted.
Dundar held on as long as he could until Oreo pinned him to a wall. Another driver tried to help, but the horse sprinted west along the sidewalk before crashing into a parked van.
There the carriage broke apart, and the couple fell out.
But Oreo continued his mad dash, colliding with a Town Car before being caught at Ninth Avenue and West 57th Street.
Witnesses said Dundar and the couple were taken to a hospital.
Witness Debbie Shaver, of Portland, Ore., was about to get on a carriage with her family when she saw the crash.
“The cab fell on top of the couple,” she said. “They were screaming, ‘Help us. Help us get out.’ We rushed over with a lot of other people and tried to lift it up.”
Deborah Stevens, 59, of Brooklyn, said, “He was really galloping. He looked totally spooked.”
A stable manager said the horse is doing fine.
The scare renews the debate over the carriages, which have come under fire from animal-rights activists.
“This horse-and-buggy industry’s time has come and gone,” said Scott Levenson, spokesman for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, which wants to replace the horses with electric cars. “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured.”
A spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York couldn’t be reached for comment.