COROLLA, N.C., (WVEC) — No charges will be filed at this time after a motorist struck and killed a wild horse along a Corolla beach on Saturday night.
According to a Facebook post made by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, the mare died instantly and "her stallion stayed over her body all night even after she was covered with a tarp."
The organization is urging drivers to pay attention when driving on the beach at night.
"Slow down and expect that a horse could be on the beach, or running over the dunes at any given moment," the post said.
The mare was buried Sunday morning.
The Currituck County Sheriff’s Office said a Virginia Beach resident was traveling northbound along the MP 20.5 area when four to five horses ran across from the dunes toward the water. The vehicle was reportedly going 20 to 25 mph when it struck one of the animals.
Deputies said conditions were foggy at the time, with low visibility.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that the beach sees heavy traffic, especially during the summer. The speed limit on the four-wheel drive area is 15 mph. Vehicles and people are supposed to stay 50 feet away from a wild horse herd.
People with the wild horse fund were too upset to talk on camera, but COO Jo Langone told 13News Now this is the third horse death in the last week alone after two others ultimately died from injuries.
Jo Langone said regardless of who’s at fault there is a lesson the community can learn.
"Take care driving along that beach at night because it’s not like a roadway that has street lights where things are illuminated. The only illumination is from your headlight," said Langone.
"[The local horse community is] really passionate about the Corolla Horse Fund. They’re extremely passionate about that, it’s like they’re their children, the horses," said resident Ashley Castelow.
Many like Eric Rhem are shocked this was even possible.
"I would think you’d have to hit it pretty had to kill it. I mean, that’s a big object, that’s not a deer at all. There are no real lanes at all, so you really have to follow the sand tracks, like all the grooves in the land. And you also have to watch out close to the horses. People do tend to speed a little bit," said Rhem.
As for Castelow, she said the horses had the turf first.
"That’s still their home, that’s their beach, that’s where they live. We’re coming onto their land, so we need to be respectful of that."
Even days after the mare’s death, emotions were still running high in Corolla.
Kathy Passaiume is visiting Corolla from Ohio. She said, "makes me want to cry that someone could do something like that. They ought to be ashamed of themselves."
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