Multiple crashes leads to fiery pileup on I-5 along the Grapevine
A woman who was transporting three horses in a trailer on Interstate 5 was hit from behind, and the crash killed one of her horses and injured another last weekend along the Grapevine in California.
Since then, many in the horsing community have stepped up and raised money through a gofundme.com page to help Snohomish, Washington, resident Whitney Spicher.
But it’s the words of one horse owner, in particular, that appear to have resonated on social media.
Speaking on behalf of horse owners such as Spicher, Oregon resident and fellow horse owner Kelsey Bault made a passionate plea to “non-horse people” while detailing the anxiety and stress they often go through when transporting their “babies.”
“When you see a horse trailer driving down the road, how many of you think about how you don’t want to get stuck behind them?” Bault wrote in a Facebook post that’s been shared more than 138,000 times since Monday.
“How many times have you pulled out in front of one because you’re in a hurry?” Bault asked. “Newsflash: We haul our babies in those trailers. We. Haul. Our. Babies. These animals are the loves of our lives.”
Bault goes on to describe how it’s unnatural for an animal to step inside “a metal box on wheels and wait patiently while we drive them to our destination.”
But the animals do it partly out of love for their owner and trust that they’ll be kept safe.
“And you know what?” Bault continued to write. “We do everything in our power to do that. We leave large following distances. We slow down extra for corners. We coast up to traffic lights so we won’t throw them around if it changes at the last minute.
“But you know what we can’t help? We can’t avoid the (jerks) who are in too much of a hurry to pull out behind us. We can’t avoid the people who cut into our following distance on the freeway. We leave those spaces and travel the way we do for a reason.”
“There is upwards of 10,000 pounds behind our trucks,” Bault wrote further. “And it’s not 10,000 pounds of carefully strapped down product. It’s 10,000 pounds of trailer with living, breathing horses perched on four tiny hooves balancing themselves the best they can.”
In Spicher’s case, a big rig truck slammed into their trailer, according to ABC7 in Los Angeles, as she tried to hit the brakes because of the cars that abruptly stopped in front of her.
Spicher’s horse “Cubey” was killed.
Another horse “Ballon” was injured but is expected to recover.
A third horse “Lenny” was unscathed, Spicher wrote on her Facebook page.
Spicher’s accident was part of a major pileup involving multiple vehicles on the I-5 along the Grapevine for about 4 miles. Traffic was shut down and at least 16 people were transported to area hospitals.
California Highway Patrol said foggy driving conditions, fast speeds and drivers not turning on their headlights all played a factor in the multiple collisions.
“I ask from the bottom of my heart that everyone would be more aware of horse trailers on the road,” Bault wrote. “Respect the load we’re carrying. Respect our need for stopping and following distances.
“Don’t tailgate us. Pay even more attention in inclement weather!! We do our best to keep our horses safe, but it takes everyone else being more aware too!
“We don’t ask all of these things just because of the weight of our rigs but because if we stop too quickly or you can’t stop quickly enough, our horses can be seriously injured. Please pay attention.”
Spicher, meanwhile, expressed her gratitude for those who’ve expressed their condolences and donated to help her pay veterinarian bills and possibly buy a new horse trailer.
She also shared the heartache from losing one of her beloved horses.
“From the first time I rode him ... he was so fun and brought me so much joy,” Spicher wrote. “I had so many dreams and goals that I could picture with him as my trusted partner. He made me feel like I could go anywhere and do anything.
“I loved him and will love him and think of him always. He is beyond special. My real life unicorn. I will miss everything about him. I love you Cubey.”