A score of firefighters, Highway Patrol officers, Caltrans workers and a veterinarian worked frantically for almost four hours Monday in an effort to save two quarter horses trapped in a trailer that had turned over on the Golden State Freeway.
Northbound traffic was stalled for almost two hours while workers sawed the roof off the overturned vehicle to reach the animals trapped in the wreckage, one on top of the other. Only one horse survived, however.
Bishop horseman Frank Ormiston, 42, who had spent the weekend in the Los Angeles area, was on his way back home when his truck and trailer was rear-ended near Colorado Boulevard by a hit-and-run driver. The trailer broke loose from the truck and flipped over several times, California Highway Patrol officers said.
"When we arrived, the horse on top was kicking and beating up on the bottom one . . .," said Los Angeles Fire Capt. Philip Hobson. "We've seen some unusual things on the freeway, but this was really different."
Dr. John Toma, a veterinarian specialist in equestrian medicine, was one of thousands of commuters caught in the mess.
"I . . . wondered what was holding us up. And then I saw the horse trailer on its side . . . then I saw the rears of the horses, and thought, 'Oh no!' "
He said he gave the horses a light sedative to calm them.
The horse on top was able to get to its feet and was led to a nearby grassy area, but the other died during the rescue attempt.