LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A car hitting a horse and rider, it's a crash that may sound unreal, but on Tuesday night in Laurel County it was a grim reality.
"Once the horse was struck it threw the rider into the windshield, causing some very serious injuries for the rider of the horse and some serious injuries inside the vehicle, as well. It's a tragic situation for everybody involved," said Laurel County Sheriff's Deputy Gilbert Acciardo.
Rhonda Messer, the rider, said she was coming home from getting new horse shoes put on "Blayze." It was around nine at night and she said she said she was on the shoulder of Kentucky 1956 with a flashlight flickering, but a Jeep came up on the pair and clipped the horse.
"I'm sure that the driver of the vehicle didn't see them until they were right on top of the horse," guessed Deputy Acciardo.
Rhonda was just a short distance from her family's home, and when the call came in about the accident it sent them rushing over to help.
"It was pretty scary. It was just a rough impact," said Ashley Henson, "She was in pretty bad shape."
Rhonda's niece, Lashae Messer, added, "It was really scary, I didn't know what to think. I just wanted to make sure she was okay."
Family members say Rhonda rode Blaze everywhere. Just a few weeks ago, they say she rode him up from Casey County to her family's home just west of London. Knowing Rhonda's love for "Blayze" is why it was hard to hear that the horse had to be put down following the accident.
"The horse was severely injured," answered Deputy Acciardo, "We did have to put the horse down at the scene."
"I cried and everything, I hated to see the horse go," said the victim's niece.
"She loved riding him, you'd see her all over the place on him," chimed Henson.
Rhonda Messer had to be flown to UK where she is currently in fair condition, but still hurting. She told WKYT reporter Tim Johnston, over the phone from her hospital bed, that she has a broken shoulder blade, seven stitches to the head, and a bruise to the brain. Her family said Rhonda is still struggling with losing "Blayze."
"She don't understand the horse is gone," stated Henson, and that's the hurt that may be the toughest to get over.
Deputy Acciardo said the driver of the Jeep was not injured but his wife, in the passenger seat, had serious injuries and was taken to St. Joseph Hospital of London for treatment.