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Monday October 22, 2018
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riders in carriage crash recovering

Monday, October 01, 2018 15:40 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

What started as a romantic getaway weekend quickly turned nearly tragic for an Indiana couple thrown off a carriage pulled by a spooked, fast galloping draft horse.

Jamie Burchfield, 43, and the operator of the carriage, Randy Jackman, 62, were taken in separate helicopters Friday afternoon to Memorial Hospital in South Bend.

They were released several hours later once their injuries believed potentially life threatening at first were found not serious enough to be admitted.

"It was pretty crazy. She was flying for sure," said Burchfield.

His girlfriend, Virginia Coffee, after looked over by paramedics refused further treatment at a local hospital so she could be with Burchfield.

Burchfield said he and Coffee had just arrived at Serenity Springs where they booked a cabin for the weekend at the resort along Interstate 94 east of Michigan City.

The Plainfield couple had just placed their luggage on the carriage and sat down for a ride to their cabin when the horse began acting restlessly then bolted.

Jackman of North Liberty kept trying to regain control of the horse almost in full gallop when it veered around a car pulling into the property.

A few seconds later, Burchfield said the horse ran past a parked Ford pick-up but the front of the carriage struck the back corner of the truck.

The operator and both passengers were ejected.

Burchfield said the impact of the collision was great enough for the carriage to break loose from the horse which kept running.

A short time later, the horse on its own returned to the hitching post where the harrowing experience began.

LaPorte County sheriff John Boyd said what spooked the horse was not known.

Burchfield said the horse covered about 40 yards before the collision.

The couple later returned to their cabin for the remainder of the weekend at no cost.

Staff members picked up their medicine and brought them ice packs and food, said Burchfield

They also checked on them several times.

Burchfield, knowing animals can be unpredictable, said he's not upset.

''We're all still alive. That's all that matters,'' he said.

Burchfield said he sustained four cracked ribs and a torn ligament in his shoulder along with numerous abrasions, bumps and bruises.

Jackman had a laceration to his head along with leg and chest pain.

He also did not have his prescribed nitroglycerin tablets for his heart with him when the accident occurred, police said.

Coffee wound up with a black eye along with abrasions to her face and bruises on her hip and knee.

Boyd said the horse not running onto nearby I-94 and U.S 20 is another reason people on the carriage were fortunate.

''They are very, very lucky because it certainly could have been worse,'' he said.
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