State agricultural officials are trying to identify the owner of a horse that wandered into predawn traffic on U.S. 129, causing a fatal wreck.
George Satterfield, 56, of Comer was killed after his northbound Nissan Sentra struck the horse near the highway’s intersection with Gaines Mill Road shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, the Georgia State Patrol said.
The horse went through the windshield and into the car. Satterfield died at the scene from blunt force trauma.
Satterfield’s car apparently did not slow before hitting the
chestnut-colored horse. It was still dark outside at the time of the accident, Hall County Coroner Marion Merck said.
"My information is he probably never saw the horse," Merck said, adding there were no skid marks at the scene. "It was a sudden impact."
The horse fell from the car after the collision and was struck by another southbound vehicle, but the driver of that car was not injured, the patrol said. The horse was killed.
The Georgia State Patrol requested assistance from the
Georgia Department of Agriculture in locating the animal’s owner.
Agriculture department spokesperson Jackie Sosebee said there is no statewide registry for horses that are not bred and sold as thoroughbreds. She said the bridled gelding involved in the crash had a tattoo on the inside of its lip, but that as of Thursday, officials had not identified the horse’s owner.
Cattle are easier to trace to owners because they have tags in their ears, Sosebee said.
Sosebee said a fatal car-horse collision in Georgia "is an unusual incident; this kind of thing doesn’t happen often."
A state agricultural inspector has been assigned to try to determine where the horse is from, she said.
Hall County Animal Control Director Mike Ledford said his department had not responded to any reports of loose livestock in the area of Hall County where the accident occurred. The closest agricultural area is about two miles down Gaines Mill Road from the scene of the crash.