Local News

Horseman Insists He's Not Responsible for Vehicle Accident

Posted September 26, 2007 6:39 p.m. EDT
Updated September 27, 2007 11:14 a.m. EDT

— The rider of a horse killed in a weekend car accident insisted Wednesday he did nothing wrong, but authorities said they believe alcohol might have been a factor.

Dashawn Wheeler, 28, was a passenger in a car that rounded a dark curve near the Nash County town of Whitakers on Saturdayand slammed into the horse, ridden by Joe Sweet Jr.

Wheeler was taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition Wednesday evening. The driver of the car was not seriously injured.

Sweet also sustained several injuries, including a broken wrist and tailbone.

Authorities said the horse, which died instantly, was standing in the middle of the road, but Sweet insisted he was on the side of the road.

"I do not ride my horses in the road. I don't ride them in the highway," Sweet said. "We were not in the road."

Sweet was charged with impeding traffic and could face additional charges. He admitted to having two beers earlier in the evening, but said he was not drunk.

"It had to take us at least an hour and a half to ride from Rocky Mount, and a man had given us a six pack of beer."

Wheeler's family wasn't available for comment. Investigators said she might have lifelong injuries.

"I really hate that," Sweet said. "I wish they hadn't hit me and my horse. I hate I lost my horse also."