Ocala Horse Death/ struck by car - Need your help!

Ocala Friends… Be on the lookout. The accident happened on Hwy 335 between 40th and 30th Sts.
A horse died in this horrific accident. Please share so we can help the grieving owner to find the person who struck and killed her horse and left the scene.

There was a Green Ford Ranger that struck the horse when it was loose. It should have a sizeable dent in the side of the vehicle. Many folks are already calling body shops to help the owner to try to find the culprit.

There has been a police report filed.



This is very sad. What a nightmare for the owner. How does this work in your state, legally? If a horse was loose and is struck by a car on a highway, is it the driver’s fault? If they left the scene, they might have headed to the hospital themselves. Even a deer can injure or kill a driver.


I’m helping a friend. I am not a resident of Florida.



Oh, I understand. I know in most states, liability goes the other way. You may want to warn your friend. The driver might sue her for injuries/vehicle damage. How did the horse get loose?


I’m in Florida and I have always heard that loose livestock is the owner’s liability. However I am very sorry for this poor horse and the owner.


That makes sense. I’m so paranoid about loose livestock, that a perimeter, ‘just in case’ fence makes me feel better.


I do not have all the details. I believe the horse was on lease to a person who is in Florida now and brought the horse with her.

The owner is nowhere near Florida. (Closer to me)

My understanding is that the barn help accidentally left a gate open and horses got loose. All of the above though is what’s been mentioned from others. I’m just trying to help my friend to get some closure.



That’s a terrible situation. If the driver sues, I don’t know who would be liable. The handler? The owner? Nothing worse for a horse person than losing a horse and then being penalized on top of it.


That is so sad, but regardless of whether the owner or the driver is at fault, it is not right to leave the scene of an accident. I am in NY and the law says you must stop if you hit a “domestic” animal although I assume that can vary from state to state…


I’ve heard that, too. People are supposed to stop for dogs. Cats, they hardly ever do. Horses? I don’t know. Many people are so unfamiliar with horses. I have heard of people hitting a horse and thinking it was a deer. It depends on time of day or night and if they were distracted when it happened.


Interwebs are helping…


A couple lawyers are saying the part of this statute that has the quote below does apply to domestic animals, or pets.

“or damage to any vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall give his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and shall upon request and if available exhibit his or her license or permit to drive, to any person injured in such crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash and shall give such information and, upon request, exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash and shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.”


Good find. It sounds like they could be in trouble legally, for sure. If they drove themselves to the hospital for an injury, they might avoid charges. Liability, or civil law is different. They could still sue because an animal was on a public roadway.

I feel bad for the owner, person leasing, and the barn staff that left a gate open. I also hope the driver, and any passengers, are all okay. But mostly for the poor horse who ran scared in an unfamiliar place and was struck down. Awful situation.


There’s likely two separate issues here.

  • Livestock liability which is in Florida IS the owner’s responsibility (perhaps the barn is considered an agent of the owner).
  • And what penalty there is in leaving the scene of a motor vehicle vs livestock accident.

Sadly neither assuages the grief of the lost horse. What a nightmare. So sorry for your friend.


What happens if a rider falls off and the horse somehow makes it onto a roadway? Obviously leaving a gate open is negligence but if your riding in a preserve and the horse gets loose would you be liable or the state that owns the preserve? Or would in that instance the horse be considered similar to a deer?

I’d suspect the entity who has care, custody, and control of said animal.


These types of concerns are why it’s a really really good idea for horse owners to carry a liability insurance policy, in case their horse causes property damage or bodily injury to a third party. As far as I know, the driver (or their medical insurance company if they are injured) can go after anybody they believe could be held accountable.


Exactly why I love my liability policy. Not because of the things I can think of possibly happening, more for the things I couldn’t believe could ever have happened.



We aren’t a real “sue happy” (litigious) type of society here, but even we are encouraged to have liability insurance (typically a membership to Equestrian Australia will cover you)

Horse gets loose on road by way of jumping out, open gate, or rider falling off…. It is owner’s fault and responsibility and liability. Horse hit by car? Owner liable. Unless you can prove that it resulted from a malicious act (ie third party placed your horse on road by way of trespass).

Sorry for your mate’s loss but I’d be looking at whoever let it escape, rather than the person who hit it, as the person at fault.


I imagine this scenario would depend on the extent of the damage to the vehicle and driver and the lawyer arguing damages. Three months ago I was doing canter sets in the wide lanes of a rural orange grove that happens to be tucked in about a mile from a two lane 60 mph highway. I flushed two
Sand hill cranes as I was turning to the next lane along the feeder road to the highway. So close I’m positive one crane’s wing struck my horse’s chest. So there’s this cacophony of crane clucking shrieks and wings everywhere. I was launched off and all I could think of mid air was DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR REINS OR YOUR HORSE WILL DIE. He dragged me one handed for a couple of strides and stopped. It has just always been pounded into my head that the care and custody of horses whether behind a fence or under saddle is yours and any and all liability/damage is on you.


Imagine how complicated it could get if someone intentionally swerved at a horse and rider and causes an accident. Layers upon layers of complexity.