St Albans horse rider injured after hit and run

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 August 2016

The driver

The driver "sped off" after Sarah had fallen off of the horse and crawled out of his way

Archant

A speeding car in a narrow country lane collided with a horse and its rider last week as they were heading to St Albans.

Sarah Hartless, 19, who lives in the Chiswell Green, was lucky to escape with bruising when she was knocked off of her mare, Whisper, at around 1pm last Wednesday (27) a after her scared horse jumped in front of a black Ford Fiesta Zetec.

The driver did not stop and now she and her family are appealing to anyone who might have seen the car - which would have a large dent on the bonnet just below the windscreen where it collided with Whisper - to contact police.

Sarah was riding down Westwick Row in Leverstock Green, towards St Albans, with her friend Michelle Sturgess and Michelle’s 11-year-old daughter Flick when they noticed the car travelling at a high speed behind them.

Sarah said that they all pulled over to a passing place on the side of the road because the car was driving “too fast”. She then signalled for the car to stop as she could sense that the horse “wasn’t happy”.

But the driver did not stop which resulted in the “spooked” horse jumping sideways and hitting the bonnet of the car.

Michelle said she could not believe what was happening. She went on: “My horse was spinning on a sixpence and while I was trying to control her, I was aware that Sarah’s horse was up in the air on all fours. Her back legs landed on the car and then, as Whisper slid off the car, Sarah fell off into the road.”

Sarah’s mum, Elaine, added: “When horses get spooked they jump sideways and we are wondering if Whisper tried to jump the car because she is a show jumper.

“The horse landed on the car and fortunately she’s big and strong and is just a bit bruised.”

But a horse physiotherapist had found that Whisper has a slight twist on her right side and lower back which would have been caused by the impact.

Sarah, who works with horses at the livery yard at Westwick Row Farm, suffered significant bruising and a sprained wrist as a result of the accident. She added: “It is a miracle that neither Whisper nor I were seriously injured.

“Although he slowed down a bit, he ignored my hand signals and did not stop for an instant.

“He continued to edge forward and then sped off as soon as I had crawled out of his way.”

The driver is described as a man in his 20s with mousy dark blonde hair, wearing a blue top which may have had stripes.

Anyone who may have seen the car or has information about the incident is asked to contact the Herts Police Collision Unit on 01438 757171. Alternatively you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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