Updated at 11:20 a.m. Aug. 27
A horse was killed in Murrieta Saturday night after it got loose in traffic on Washington Avenue.
The accident between at least two cars and a horse was reported at about 8:20 p.m. Saturday on southbound Washington, about 1/4 mile north of Kalmia Street, Murrieta police confirmed Monday.
Traffic on southbound Washington was redirected as officials investigated the accident.
A woman who was driving a gold Lexus and hit the horse was not injured, according to Murrieta fire Capt. Eric Ballard.
"All we know is she hit a horse and we are going to give her a ride home right now," Ballard said.
The horse had a saddle on, but no rider.
The owner of the horse arrived on scene but declined to comment except to say the dark brown horse was a 13-year-old male and belonged to his 6-year-old daughter.
"He just got away," he said.
Murrieta police confirmed Monday that the horse had been tied up to a hitching post at Joannie's Cantina on Washington.
"It was tied up at Joannie's by the owner," Murrieta police Lt. Firmes. "By some unknown means it got loose somehow. We don't know how."
Michelle Smith, 48, of Murrieta, was one of the drivers who hit the horse.
"I was driving down Washington toward Kalmia to go out to eat with my friends at Chili's," Smith told Patch. "The car directly in front of me hit something and then all of the sudden the biggest object came flying at me and I didn't know what it was. Then I ran over it and it completely went under my car."
Smith said she immediately pulled over and she and her 9-year-old daughter got out of the car.
"At first we thought it was a person and we were so freaked out. But then we found out there was a horse running in the street. It was scary, we were in shock. My daughter was crying. She was scared and she is an animal lover."
Smith said she remembers seeing a bicyclist's reflectors, but did not recall seeing the horse.
"So I did not know what I hit," she said. "We just stood near the car in shock. And the lady in front of me did not know what she hit."
Smith remarked that the portion of Washington where the accident occurred—in the 24500 block near Murrieta Valley Golf Range—was not well lit, in her opinion.
"If there was better lighting on this street we would have seen it."
Animal control was called out to the scene to remove the horse from the roadway.
No charges were filed against the horse's owner, Firmes said, and the drivers in the accident did not suffer injuries, he confirmed.
—Daniel Lane contributed to this report