"Red" the mule was hit by a car Monday morning on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. She was injured in the crash and within hours was euthanized by a local veterinarian.
The car hit the mule around 6:45 a.m. in the eastbound outer lane of Pacific Coast Highway at Heathercliff Road, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. James Royal. The driver was not injured, Royal said.
By midmorning Monday, Sgt. Philip Brooks said, the mule had been put down at the scene of the accident. The animal, which authorities previously said was a horse, did not have a rider, sheriff's officials said.
The accident spurred the closure of one of two lanes of traffic until about 9:30 a.m., Brooks said.
Red had escaped from a nearby home during construction along with a horse, said Sherman Baylin, an animal mortician from the area who said she was asked to respond to the scene by sheriff's deputies.
When Baylin arrived at the scene, Red was on her side and "her vitals were still OK," Baylin said. But by the time veterinarian Merle DerVartanian arrived, the mule's gums were losing color – "a death sign," Baylin said – and DerVartanian elected to put the mule down.
The owner of the mule, Baylin added, was "a wreck."
The escaped horse eventually returned home.