The horse was running westbound in the eastbound lane of Stone Drive as it crossed the Lynn Garden Drive intersection. (Photo by Jeff Bobo)
Update: 2:50 p.m.
Many Kingsport motorists encountered a bizarre sight on Monday morning — a horse galloping through traffic on both Interstate 26 and Stone Drive.
Animal control and Kingsport police spent about an hour wrangling the frightened mare, taking it into custody after it tuckered out near Model City apartments.
"Police officers were warning traffic, and I was in and out of the truck trying to get it stopped," said Steve Ward, animal control officer with the Sullivan County/Bluff City/Kingsport Animal Control Center. "But it was so scared and wired up, we just had to let it wear itself down."
At 10:35 a.m., Kingsport central dispatch received its first call on the incident, reporting a horse along West Stone Drive near the Putt-Putt Fun Center. Ward said animal control would later learn the mare, approximately 4 years old, had escaped from a pasture off Bloomingdale Pike.
The horse continued running west on Stone Drive, including multiple trips into oncoming traffic. Kingsport police attempted to flank the horse in patrol cars, flashing lights and occasionally blasting sirens to warn other motorists.
Ward said he caught up with the horse after it had already left West Stone Drive — and was running in eastbound lanes of Interstate 26.
After crossing the bridge over Domtar Park, the mare jumped the cable barriers into the grass median, then jumped into westbound interstate lanes to head back toward Stone Drive.
Ward said concerns of a vehicle striking the animal were paramount — not only for the horse's safety, but also motorists.
"We were worried about that more than anything," Ward said. "Everybody was slowing down. We had people trying to get in front of it and block it."
The frightened horse veered off I-26 and back onto West Stone Drive, this time heading east. Animal control and Kingsport Police then focused on getting the horse away from high-traffic areas.
"We herded it up Fairview and ended up at Model City Apartments," said Ward. "Getting it up that hill away from all the traffic on Stone Drive, that was the way to keep it safe."
With the horse now tiring out, authorities were able to start inching in closer and closer. The horse walked up Stonegate Road to Charles Street, where it was coaxed with feed toward SBK Officer Jason Wilson and a Kingsport police officer.
Ward said the horse owner's son was on hand by this point in time — approximately 11:45 a.m. — and slipped a collar around the mare's neck as it ate, bringing it into custody.
"I just wanted to make it sure we got it off that interstate, off Stone Drive," said Ward. "I knew if we got it up that hill, we'd get it."
KINGSPORT - A Kingsport Animal Control officer was following a horse that got loose somehow and was running westbound along Stone Drive Monday morning.
Around 10:30 a.m. the Time-News snapped a photo of the horse running westbound in the eastbound lane of Stone Drive at the Lynn Garden Drive intersection with an Animal Control officer right behind it warning motorists with flashing lights and an occasional siren blast.
Kingsport Police Department Central Dispatch told the Times-News it wasn't known as of 10:45 a.m. where the horse came from, but it had gotten corralled at one point and then got loose again.
"We're trying to get it corralled and get a vet out to help us get it tranquilized so that it doesn't get into traffic," the KPD dispatcher said, although by that point the horse was already in traffic.
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