Headed east on West Harvard Avenue in a tan PT Cruiser, Margaret Thompson and Patricia Attaway approached the Oak Avenue Bridge shortly before dusk Wednesday night.
It happened to be Thompson’s birthday.
From the front passenger seat, Thompson saw an apparently spooked, riderless horse burst into view, seemingly out of nowhere in front of them.
Attaway slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. The quarter horse collided with the front of the car.
“It went clear up on the top of the car,” Thompson said. “Its foot almost came through the window at me.”
Thompson and Attaway were shaken up, but uninjured after the accident. The collision caused heavy damage to the PT Cruiser and unknown injuries to the quarter horse belonging to Jason Kingsbury of Roseburg. The horse was eventually loaded into a trailer and taken to Bailey Veterinary Clinic that night and is expected to make a full recovery, according to police.
Kingsbury told police he was relaxing with his horse, Spade, below the Oak Avenue Bridge along the South Umpqua River on Wednesday night. While Spade was tied to a saddle on the ground, Kingsbury said he used the opportunity for a nap.
According to Kingsbury, geese spooked his horse, causing it to bolt up the hill toward West Harvard Avenue — just as Attaway and Thompson were approaching from the west.
Kingsbury said he immediately ran after Spade, but couldn’t reach her as the horse ran toward the road just as Attaway and Thompson were approaching.
“She didn’t go anywhere but straight to the car, just running from the saddle dragging,” Kingsbury said.
Robert Laidlaw of Medford, who happened to be staying at the nearby Travelodge Roseburg, was standing outside the motel when the frightened horse burst into view from below the bridge.
“She slammed on the brakes,” Laidlaw said. “Then I saw the horse stand up so I could tell it had been hit.”
Laidlaw, who never met Kingsbury before Wednesday, helped calm the horse in a grassy area next to the road for several minutes until a transport could be located to safely move the horse.
Kingsbury, whose attire included chaps, flannel shirt and a cowboy hat, said he was grateful for the help from Laidlaw.
“She calmed straight down when there was two of us,” Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury was cited for having livestock at large, police said.