Five horses escaped a ranch in Thermal Tuesday, leading to the deaths of four of them following at least two traffic collisions, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services reported.
The first crash was reported at 4 a.m. on Harrison Street near Avenue 60, which left one horse dead and another with severe enough injuries to spur a California Highway Patrol officer to euthanize the animal at the scene. The motorist was taken to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.
Three additional horses were also injured or killed Tuesday. One horse was killed on 61st Avenue and another horse was left with a broken back before it was euthanized by a veterinarian. A fifth horse suffered lacerations near its neck that required stitches.
The horses appear to have originated from a ranch-style property at 85501 61st Ave., according to county officials, although it is unclear how the horses escaped.