DEADWOOD | The crash of a runaway horse-drawn wagon injured four people and marred opening ceremonies of the new $5.5 million Days of ’76 Museum on Saturday morning. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.
“It’s a helluva way to start a party,” said Jon Mattson, president of the museum.
The wagon, driven by veteran Belle Fourche rancher Wilbur Newland, over-turned in the arena of the Days of ’76 rodeo grounds about 10 a.m. after one of two draft horses pulling it spooked, said a shaken Chelsea Percy, one of the three passengers in the wagon when it tumbled.
“I’m not sure exactly what happened,” Percy said, nursing a bruised arm and head. “I’m doing fine, but all of a sudden the horses just started running. Then we crashed. ”
Percy was later taken to Lead-Deadwood Regional Hospital, as were wagon riders Suzanne Rogers and 3-year-old Enzo Stone. Newland was transported by ambulance. Their conditions were not immediately available.
The two horses broke the wish bar that connected their harnesses to the wagon. Once free, they raced around Ferguson Field, through a residential neighborhood, over a state highway and straight up Deadwood’s historic Main Street. They were corralled in the parking lot of the Mineral Palace and, once calm, were led into a trailer.