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Woman in T. rex costume who scared carriage horses turns herself in to police

A carriage horse tour guide was injured after the horses were spooked Thursday during a tour. (Courtesy Shelby Salvador)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A day after a woman in a Tyrannosaurus rex costume spooked a couple of carriage horses, the president of the carriage company addressed concerns.

At a press conference Friday, carriage driver Van Sturgeon said he broke a bone in his left foot and has severe bruising to his right leg after falling from the carriage.

Palmetto Carriage Works officials also said the woman in the costume had turned herself in to police and faces at least two charges.

Charleston Police Department officials said 26-year-old Nicole Wells is charged with disorderly conduct and being a "masked or disguised person." They said she was cited and released.

On Thursday, two Palmetto Carriage Works horses were spooked by a person in a T. rex costume in the area of Church and Linguard streets.

Video: Aftermath of horses spooked by T-Rex

According to the police report, the horses backed up, caused the carriage to jackknife, and then the carriage hit a parked car.

Both horses are OK but the driver was thrown from the carriage and suffered a broken foot.

There's varying opinion on what actually happened, with some witnesses telling police they heard the T. rex roar at the horses and others saying the dino was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and they didn't think it was intentional, nor did they hear any roaring.

Police, however, provided a new detail on Friday, saying a photo of the T. rex was sent to them before the incident.

They say the witness "advised that her husband told the suspect to leave. He reported that the suspect responded incoherently, but the voice sounded female."

They also said security camera footage "was consistent with witness statements" and showed the T. rex walking from the Cumberland Street Garage past Tommy Condon's.

Whether the incident was intentional or not, the person in the costume did not stick around to talk to police.

Another witness told police the T. rex "fled to the Cumberland Street Garage, removed her costume and got into a car."

The police report has a disorderly conduct charge attached. It is also illegal to wear a costume that hides your face on city streets (unless it's Halloween):

Sec. 21-111. - Masked or disguised persons; Halloween exceptions.
(a) No person over sixteen (16) years of age shall appear on any street, highway, alley, public park or other public place in the city in any mask or disguise which conceals the identity of such person, without the permission of the chief of police. The provisions of this paragraph (a) shall not affect the following:
(1) Any person wearing traditional holiday costume;
(2) Any person engaged in a trade or employment in which a mask is worn for the purpose of ensuring the physical safety of the wearer or because of the nature of the occupation, trade or profession;
(3) Any person using a mask in a theatrical production or masquerade ball; or
(4) Any person wearing a gas mask prescribed in a civil defense drill or exercise or in an emergency.
(b) No person shall appear on any street, highway, alley, public park, public home, private home or any other public place to make trick or treat visitations; provided that this section shall not apply to children sixteen (16) years or less on halloween night prior to 10:00 p.m.
(Code 1975, § 37-30)

The Charleston Animal Society offered up to a $2,500 reward for information on who was inside the suit.


Anyone with information about this incident can call 843-743-7200, and ask for the on-duty Charleston Police detective.

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