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APPLE CREEK, Ohio — Troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Wayne County sheriff’s deputies and Wooster police officers responded to an unusual call on Route 250 Sunday morning: A horse pulling an Amish buggy broke away from its owner, and ran more than ten miles from Apple Creek to Wooster.

Veteran highway patrol Sergeant Otis Smith was able to stop the horse by jumping onto the buggy, grabbing a hold of the reins and pulling as hard as he could. The horse collapsed from overexertion. But Sgt. Smith, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps with no previous experience with horses, had helped diffuse a dangerous situation on the highway.


“You know the risk to the other motoring public, I mean there’s a lot of, you know, animal crashes around here; I mean that horse could have potentially, you know, caused a serious crash or a fatal crash, so that’s why I just acted quickly to try to neutralize the risk and get that horse stopped,” said Sgt. Smith.

A vet was called to the scene and gave the horse a clean bill of health after he had a chance to rest and get his breath back. “It actually got up, you know, and I thought it was going to get going again and then I started getting nervous because you know I didn’t want it to take off with like a broken control arm on the buggy and flip me out.”

The owner of the horse later told investigators he was getting ready to take his family to church Sunday morning, when the horse became frightened by a loud noise and took off running.

Sgt. Smith’s quick actions earned him a couple of new nicknames including cowboy.