Rodeo Chairman Critically Injured in Stagecoach Crash

Witnesses say horse team bolted
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2018 12:11 AM CST

(Newser) – The chairman of an Arizona rodeo was among two people critically injured when an event went badly wrong, authorities say. The Superstition Fire and Medical District says the incident occurred at the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo in Apache Junction on Saturday, the Arizona Republic reports. Witnesses say the stagecoach hit multiple vehicles after the horse team bolted from the arena. The rodeo committee says chairman Denny Walter, who was riding shotgun on the stagecoach, is still in intensive care "after the first of many surgeries to come." The committee says he wants to thank everybody for their support, and "there were many heroes who stepped up yesterday without a second thought of doubt."

Officials say several other people who were in and around the stagecoach were less seriously injured. The horses involved were walked from the scene to be evaluated by their owners. Witnesses say the incident appears to have started with one horse, the Apache Junction News reports. "I took a video of the stagecoach during the time it was in the arena," says witness Deane Elek. "You can see the rear horse on the right was acting badly and pushing the other horses to run. When they were in front of the announcer's booth the other horses started into a wild gallop. They raced to the gate and crashed the left side of the coach. It was terrifying. It looked like people were going to be trampled. Such a tragedy."

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