Chloe Sloan, 23, is in the hospital and her Tennessee walking horse, Ellie Mae, is dead after 21-year-old Christopher Todd intentionally hit them with his pickup truck near the French Landing in Volusia County, Florida, MyNews13 reports.
The violent incident occurred just before 2 a.m. on Sunday, while four riders and their horses were resting at the landing along the St. Johns River, near Orange City, deputies say.
Todd came speeding toward them in a white 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, nearly driving into the river where the riders stood with their horses.
One of the female riders reportedly walked over to the truck and told Todd the group was leaving and not to speed. Witnesses report that a short verbal altercation transpired, which ended with Todd cursing her, and the rider—who was not Chloe Sloan--responding with a racial slur.
In an apparent episode of road rage, Todd sped off, made a U-turn, and drove straight back toward the horses and riders.
The riders fled in different directions, deputies say, but one horse froze. That was when Todd intentionally rammed the black Tennessee walker, ejecting the 23-year-old rider, Chloe Sloan, onto the truck's hood.
Witnesses said Todd continued to accelerate until Sloan fell off the hood, and the horse was no longer stuck to the front grill.
Sloan was able to run into the nearby woods and hide, as Todd circled the dying horse and then sped away.
Chloe Sloan suffered a broken collarbone. The horse, Ellie Mae, died at the scene, the NY Daily News reported.
Around 3:30 a.m. Todd was spotted speeding about 33 miles away in the Seville area, according to the Orlando Sentinel, and the riders were able to identify his truck. Deputies say that at the time of the arrest, there was still horse hair in the grill of Todd's truck.
Christopher Todd was charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty and booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on $10,000 bond, deputies say.