Benson, N.C. — A Johnston County family and three horses they were bringing to their farm from Tennessee escaped a wreck in the North Carolina mountains last weekend unharmed.
A driver lost control of his car on eastbound Interstate 40 near Old Fort during a rainstorm on Sunday afternoon and crashed into a pickup driven by Jason Hiser, sending the pickup and its horse trailer down the side of a mountain.
"We took a sharp right and turned straight down the side of a mountain," Carol Hiser said. "I was just praying that we would go quickly and we wouldn't suffer."
The truck and trailer careened down the mountain for more than 100 feet before slamming into two trees, which prevented them from tumbling farther.
The Hisers and their children were able to get out of the pickup with no injury more serious than the scratch 10-year-old J.W. Hiser got on his neck.
"I was thinking about Faith, if she was going to make it out of the horse trailer," said 8-year-old Casey Hiser.
Faith was the smallest of three wild mustangs that the Hisers had adopted so they could train them for competitions. The horses also had only scratches from the wreck.
The Hisers weren't sure how to get the mustangs back up the mountain, saying they feared the wild horses would bolt once the trailer was opened.
So, an area veterinarian was called to the wreck site to tranquilize the horses. A tow truck then pulled the animals up the mountain to I-40.
Word quickly spread about the Hisers' ordeal, and another trailer was brought to the scene, allowing the family and the horses to spend the night near Winston-Salem. They finally made it back to Benson late Monday night.
"It's kind of hard to get our heads around it because it's just so miraculous that we're all still alive," Carol Hiser said.
The driver who hit the Hisers' pickup was cited with driving too fast for conditions.
The Hisers' truck was totaled, but they noted that the first prize in a competition they're entering the horses in later this year is a new pickup.