Authorities are searching for a driver who struck a pony that was loose on the 91 Freeway in Long Beach on Sunday, leaving the small horse slightly injured.
A 10-year-old boy had been riding the pony, named Pinto, at a home just north of the freeway about 9:45 a.m. when he fell off and the animal ran away. The pony trotted onto the Atlantic Avenue offramp and made its way onto the westbound lanes of the freeway, where it was clipped by a black SUV, said Officer Marcos Iniguez, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.
Iniguez said the driver fled the scene but a group of good Samaritans stopped to help the injured pony to the right shoulder of the freeway and called police. The animal was favoring its left hind leg and suffered abrasions to its forelegs.
Pinto was evaluated by animal control officers and later was reunited with his owner. Iniguez shared photos of the rescued pony and wrote about the surprising incident in a tongue-in-cheek social media post over the weekend.
“Giddy up!! Do you believe in unicorns? Our team of experienced wranglers was able to rescue the pony and returned it to #merlin,” the CHP wrote in the post along with the hashtag #watchoutforponies.
Iniguez said the situation was something most officers have never encountered.
“We typically get reports about dogs running around in the lanes, but never a pony,” Iniguez said. “That’s why I called it a unicorn. It’s very unusual.”
But it isn’t all horseplay for officers. They’re still trying to locate the driver in the hit-and-run, Iniguez said.
Anyone with information about the collision or the driver is being asked to contact the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office at (562) 868-0503.