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Carriage crash
J.T. Thomas, left, and Eddie Pease check on the condition of the horse involved in Tuesdays crash.

A local couple was hospitalized Tuesday after a car collided with their horse-drawn buggy on The Strip in front of Chicken Chef.

Lena and Andy Byler, both 42, were transported to Saint Thomas River Park Hospital. They were reportedly thrown from their carriage upon impact.

“He flew out and landed on the windshield of the car, while she flew out and landed on the hood,” said eyewitness J.T. Thomas. “We saw the whole thing happen right in front of our eyes. My wife and I were admiring the horse when this car pulls out and crashes into them.”

The car was driven by Sandra Taylor, 24, who hit the broad side of the carriage. She was not injured.

The horse was tied to a utility pole in front of Chicken Chef and appeared to be unharmed. It was transported to the livestock barn near the fairgrounds for safe keeping until it can be picked up by its owners.

According to McMinnville police officer Steven Daniels, the accident took place at 1:58 p.m. on New Smithville Highway. The horse and buggy were in the parking lot of Security Federal attempting to go directly across New Smithville Highway to enter the right side of the Chicken Chef parking lot.

Taylor was exiting the left side of the Chicken Chef parking lot, making a left turn onto The Strip.

“She said she was looking back at the southbound traffic and didn’t see them,” said officer Daniels.

Taylor was cited for failure to yield.

With horse-drawn carriages becoming more prevalent on local roadways, there’s been speculation a crash involving a buggy was bound to happen. This could be the first incident inside the city limits.

“To my knowledge, this is the first one I know of,” said officer Daniels. “I’m glad they weren’t hurt any worse.”