Two Grantsville residents were injured after hitting a horse on SR-138 Saturday night.
Sgt. Bob Gutierrez of the Utah Highway Patrol said witnesses said four horses were on the highway just east of Grantsville after 10 p.m. He said a pickup truck going east ran into one standing in the lane, and the impact spun the black animal around.
An SUV following the pickup also hit the horse, he added, after which the SUV went off the right side of the road and rolled.
The horse died while the driver of the SUV suffered a broken arm and a female passenger sustained a head injury, said Gutierrez. She was taken to a Salt Lake hospital by air ambulance as a precaution. The driver and child passenger in the pickup were not injured.
Also uninjured were two children in the back of the SUV, he said.
Currently, troopers are still investigating the ownership of the horses and how they got out. However, the area of the incident is legally considered open range, noted Gutierrez.
This is the third horse killed on a Tooele County highway in the last month. On March 22, a Vernon couple was driving on SR-36 near Rush Valley when they hit two horses.
The horses, both bays, were badly injured by the impact and had to be euthanized at the scene. The 83-year-old passenger received severe cuts to her face, while her 88-year-old husband, who was driving, had less severe injuries.
In that case also, the horses, which had gotten out of a nearby corral, were on the highway in an open range area.
I am not sure exactly how this “open range” thing works but I was told that if you
hit and kill an animal in a open range area and it dies you have to pay the owner for that animal. What about the people that get hurt because an animal owner didn’t make sure that his animals can’t get out onto the highway. I know this is a rural community, but someone needs to take responsibility for horses and cows getting onto highways like SR-36 and SR-138. Who pays if the driver of the vehicle is killed after hitting a horse or cow. I am sure it is not the owner of the animal.