SOUTHWEST RANCHES, Fla. - The driver of a pickup truck that struck two people riding horses Sunday in Southwest Ranches was identified by Davie police Monday as James Rink, 24, of Coral Springs.
According to police, Rink was driving his 2008 Toyota Tundra east on Griffin Road when he dropped his cellphone.
Police said Rink bent over to pick it up and struck the horses, which were crossing the road northbound at Southwest 198th Terrace.
Both riders were ejected from the horses.
"They were going out on the trial. They were being pony-led, and the truck -- there's no way a guy could not see two people crossing the street," American Horse Trails owner Herb Garcia told Local 10 News reporter Madeleine Wright over the phone. "Just look at the crime scene. There were no brake marks."
Authorities said the horses were pronounced dead at the scene.
A 9-year-old girl who was riding one of the horses was airlifted to Memorial Regional Hospital. Her father witnessed the crash, police said.
The girl is now listed in good condition at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Authorities said the girl's guide, Joy Shupnick, 62, of Miami, was also taken to Memorial Regional Hospital. Both riders suffered possible life-threatening injuries.
Shupnick's husband told Local 10 News that his wife is sedated at the hospital and suffered a concussion and a bad cut on her foot.
Garcia said the horse riding school will be closed Monday because of Sunday's crash.
"I just lost two of my horses and my trainer is in the hospital -- the kid's in the hospital. I'm a little frazzled," Garcia said.
Garcia said nothing like this has ever happened near his business before.
"We've been riding these trails for the last 10 years. Never had an incident going across it, and for this to happen, it's like, it's crazy," he said.
The portion of Griffin Road where the crash occurred is known for horseback riding and has crossing signs posted all along the street. Riders in the area said they are shocked and saddened that an accident of this magnitude occurred there.
"I see that happening all the time here," Jocelin Vanik, who lives nearby, said. "People on their phones just not paying attention. We are supposed to be an equine community and we are not."
Police said the crash remains under investigation and it's unclear at this time whether Rink will face any charges.
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