Five youths in a buggy were injured and the horse killed late Saturday in a hit-and-run case that ended in several charges against a Warsaw-area man accused of having a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit.
The Warsaw Police Department and the Kosciusko County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the crash shortly before 11 p.m. on Shelden Street north of the Warsaw Walmart Supercenter.
Emergency workers found the buggy over the curb on the west side of the street. The boys had all been ejected and had minor injuries, according to a statement from the police department. It said the horse was killed by the head-on crash.
The teens told police they were going south toward the Walmart when they saw a white car pass them, drive to the Walmart lot and make a U-turn. The car then swerved into their lane. The horse landed on the hood of the car and then fell to the pavement as the car backed up and fled, according to witness statements.
Warsaw police said they found the car, a white 1993 Chevrolet Lumina, near U.S. 30 at County Road 200 West, where the driver was attempting to restart the heavily damaged car.
The driver had minor bleeding from his head, and was also covered in blood from the horse, police said.
Francisco J. Gonzalez, 24, of the 700 block of Southside Drive, was taken to a hospital in Fort Wayne. Police said his blood-alcohol level tested at 0.17 percent, but Gonzalez was released from the hospital before he could be taken into custody.
None of the buggy occupants, nor any other witnesses, told police that they thought the collision was intentional, police said.
Any witnesses who have not already spoken with police are asked to call 574-372-9515.
Preliminary charges against Gonzalez include failure to stop after a vehicle accident, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle while per se intoxicated, police said.