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Van driver rounds up escaped horses on A166
9:30am Thursday 31st January 2013 in News
A VAN driver has told how he averted a potentially tragic accident when he came across two horses “running amok” on a main road near York.
Heating engineer Jim Thompson was driving home along the A166 York to Stamford Bridge road late on Sunday evening when he spotted the animals on the road near Gate Helmsley.
“With the speed that cars come belting down that stretch of road, I thought ‘this can only end in tears’, especially when I realised one of the animals was dragging about 25 feet of heavy chain around behind it,” he told The Press.
“Imagine a motorcycle avoiding the horses only to run into the chain. I’m not a hero but I couldn’t drive home knowing I had seen an accident waiting to happen on an icy road. I couldn’t have it on my conscience to do nothing and then read in The Press the next day that someone had been killed.”
Mr Thompson, of Fulford, said he managed to park his front wheels on the chain to restrict the horse’s movements, and then put on a high visibility jacket and herded the other animal into a field.
He then called police and waited for 30 minutes. When no one arrived, he rang the police back and was told officers had instead simply informed the animals’ owners.
“Just then, the owner turned up but he was particularly unconcerned, saying: ‘What’s the problem?’ before taking the horses away.”
The Press has reported a series of road accidents involving escaped horses in the York area over the past year, including one on the A166 in which a van driver said he could have been killed had he been driving a smaller car.
City of York Council has been working up proposals to tackle the problem of illegally tethered horses, but two councillors warned late last year that they feared someone would die by crashing into an escaped animal before the measures were introduced.
A police spokeswoman said: “We’d like to thank Mr Thompson for his public-spirited actions in helping to prevent what could have been a serious incident. We received a call just before 11pm and immediately notified the owner of the horses, who assured us they were nearby and would attend.
“Clearly it’s unacceptable to put members of the public and animals in such danger, and we are working with City of York Council to provide a long-term solution to the problem of loose horses in and around York. However, we would also remind the owners of the animals have a responsibility to keep them under control.”