Two years ago, a motorist hit two horses loose on the road. Jacqueline James’ vehicle struck the horses in nearly the same area where the Nov. 6 accident occurred. [Please read the author’s article Car strikes unattended horse on U.S. 75.] That driver suffered only minor injuries and is recovering. The driver hit a horse, standing loose in the road, on a busy section of U.S.75 just north of Oklahoma 20.
In James’ accident, the collision with the horses totaled her vehicle. James was badly shaken up but not seriously hurt in the mishap. James told Osage Sky News 6:
[I’m] finally getting to the point where [I think] it can't happen again, and then it happened again. I hit the front legs of one and the back legs of the other. One of them came into my windshield and the other flipped over the top, over the side.
An accident in Oklahoma becomes a difficult legal case when it involves horses or other livestock. The law holds that the person hitting the animal must prove an owner “intentionally let the animal escape” or “their negligence allowed it to get out” of barn or enclosure.
James has a definite opinion about this – She would like stronger statutes. James suggests that perhaps guidelines for fencing on lands near or adjacent to highways are made stricter. She suggests that land owners might have a different kind of gate or a stronger and safer fence or even moving the pasture back from the road.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirms that no citation was written to the horse owner in the accident on Nov. 6 because negligence could not be substantiated. Specifically, an owner would have grossly inadequate fencing or have logged a consistent record of loose animal reports.
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