Vehicle strikes, kills Corolla horse on beach

061218 Corolla horses

Horses from the Corolla herd gather on the beach in this file photograph from 2013.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

COROLLA — A mare from the popular herd of wild horses that roam the northern Outer Banks was killed Saturday night in a collision with a vehicle driving on the beach.

The Currituck County Sheriff’s department reported the incident occurred about 10:35 p.m. A Virginia Beach resident was driving a vehicle north around milepost 20.5 in Corolla, the sheriff’s department reported, when four or five horses ran from across the dunes toward the water. One of the horses was struck by the vehicle on the driver’s side, according to the sheriff’s office.

The horse died at the scene.

The vehicle was reported to be traveling 20-25 mph at the time and weather conditions were foggy with low visibility.

At this time no charges will be filed, according to the Currituck Sheriff’s Office.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted a brief message about the accident on the organization’s Facebook page.

“Last night a mare was run over and killed on the beach,” the nonprofit posted. “She died instantly, and her stallion stayed over her body all night even after she was covered with a tarp. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and frustration we are feeling this morning. What a senseless loss.”

The post went on to urge drivers to exhibit extreme caution in night driving.

“Please, please, please pay attention when you are driving on the beach at night,” the group posted. “Slow down and expect that a horse could be on the beach or running over the dunes at any given moment. While the speed limit changes based on the presence and proximity of people on the beach, we simply ask that drivers be aware that lower speeds are safer for everyone.”

Currituck Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig said as far as he could tell the accident had nothing to do with the beach parking situation that led to new regulations this spring or to any other issue related to beach driving.

“I think it’s just an unfortunate accident,” Hanig said.

Hanig noted the accident occurred at night and said it was similar to accidents that occur on the mainland when vehicles collide with deer or bears at night.

“At night it can be hard to see,” Hanig said.

Hanig said he was planning to meet with Sheriff Matt Beickert today to discuss the accident and find out more about it.