Police: Carriage horses spooked, crashed into brick wall downtown

(Dan Michener/WCIV)

A Charleston carriage company said he's never seen anything like it.

A pair of mules got spooked Sunday morning touring through downtown Charleston. General Manager Tommy Doyle said one of the passengers, Anna Mallardi, jumped off the carriage and injured her ankle.

"This is my family's business," Doyle said. "In the 35 or 40 years that we've done this, this is the second injury that I know of where somebody jumped off out of fear like that."

It happened on Tradd Street. It's a normal part of Palmetto Carriage Works' route.

Doyle said it started when the rubber came off one of the carriage wheels. The mules got spooked when the carriage crashed to the ground and started grinding along Tradd.

"Even your best trained animal, it's gonna startle," he said. "It'll startle the driver. It'll startle anybody on the carriage -- it's like a bang."

Metal grinding along asphalt is something Palmetto Carriage Works animals are used to.

"We have a training protocol for all of our animals that does include taking our animals out on a carriage that is missing a rubber."

Doyle said what made the situation worse is when a passenger jumped off the carriage and other passengers followed.

"The driver felt like she was gonna be able to recover and get the carriage straightened out but before she had a chance to do that one lady jumped out and everyone else piled out after her and that's where the injury occurred."

The carriage slammed into a brick wall and broke an iron gate at a Bed and Breakfast downtown. We reached out to the innkeeper at Lavender and Lace but have yet to hear back.

EMS, fire and police all reported to the scene. Mallardi is being treated for her ankle injury.

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