WARSAW, Ind. – We have more information about a shocking hit-and-run crash in Warsaw over the weekend. The occupants of the buggy that was struck tell WSBT the driver intentionally swerved to hit them -- killing their horse and throwing them from their cart.
Just before 11 Saturday night, officers were called to Enterprise Drive near U.S. 30 on the city’s north side. Despite an earlier release from police stating that no one involved said it was intentional, on Monday morning the victims of the hit-and-run told us the driver did in fact appear to strike them on purpose.
The Amish victims say the driver of the car, identified as 24-year-old Francisco J. Gonzalez of Warsaw, drove past them headed south on Enterprise Drive. A Walmart manager said the car, a Chevrolet Lumina, was then seen on store video turning around in the parking lot, headed straight back for the Amish wagon.
The boys in the wagon, ages 16 and the 17-year-old driver, say Gonzalez accelerated and drove straight into the horse. The impact was great enough to nearly split the animal in half, the boys say, killing it instantly. The passengers in the wagon were thrown but not seriously hurt.
Police say the horse landed on the hood of the car and then fell to the pavement as the car backed up and fled the scene. Officers eventually caught up to Gonzalez near U.S. 30 at 200 West as he was trying to restart his heavily-damaged vehicle.
Police say Gonzalez was bleeding from a head wound, but also covered in the horse's blood.
"He was transported by EMS to Parkview DuPont Hospital in Fort Wayne where a search warrant for alcohol testing was performed," according to a news release from police. "The driver...tested 0.17% but was released from the hospital before he could be taken into custody."
Gonzalez's release was apparently an accident. Police are searching for him.
More witnesses to the tragic event told StaceyPageOnline.com at least one of the Amish men allegedly did something to irritate the suspect, which appears to have led to the horrific crash.
"Current charges being filed on Francisco J. Gonzalez are; Failure to stop after a vehicle accident, Operating while intoxicated, and Operating a vehicle while per se intoxicated," according to the news release. "Additional charges may be sought once the investigation is complete."
Police, fire and EMS crews said the men in the wagon were very lucky to escape injury. On Monday their father told WSBT they were banged up, sore and very scared by what happened.
The father said their horse, named Jenny, was a 6-year-old mare.
WSBT Reporter Denise Bohn is following this story. Stay with WSBT.com and WSBT News tonight at 5 and 6 for updates.
Additional information courtesy of StaceyPageOnline.com.