Three horseback riders are lucky to have escaped the speeding SUV on Monday night, Dec. 30. Out for an evening ride along a quiet country road, the three riders were struck by a sports utility vehicle driven by James Jody Buchannan, 29, of Mountain Home.
Buchannan was driving his 2007 GMC Jimmy in a northerly direction on Baxter County Road 25. As he went around a corner on the lightly-traveled road, he was surprised by several people riding their horses. He struck three horses in the collision.
According to Baxter County sheriff’s deputy Doug Meurer, Buchannan was driving “way too fast.” By the time he saw the riders, he had no chance to come to a stop and he was unable to avoid them. The impact was unavoidable and Buchannan’s SUV took down three horses and three riders. All were injured as a result.
The three injured riders were residents of Mountain Home. Two riders were transported by ambulance to Baxter Regional Medical Center. The two, Tristan Bixler, 18, and Colton Scott, 20, sustained injuries that were described as “moderate.” The third rider, Miranda McGowan, 20, was air-lifted by medical helicopter to a Springfield hospital with serious injuries.
Their three horses were knocked off their legs during the crash. Two of the horses managed to get back up. However, the third horse was thrown into a ditch and remained down for a while following the accident. Tommy Rand, owner of all three horses, was going to contact Meurer with an update on the horses’ physical conditions.
The SUV took a forceful blow to its front end and windshield. There is no report about injuries to driver Buchannan.
He was charged with reckless driving and for carrying no insurance.
Update: It has become known that one horse was euthanized. Another required extensive facial stitches. The riders are still hospitalized but specific information is unknown.
View an update on a horse involved from the Baxter Bulletin
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