Bellevue Police conclude investigation into horse trampling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bellevue Police conclude investigation into horse trampling

BELLEVUE (KWWL) -- Bellevue Police say they have concluded their investigation into the Fourth of July horse trampling accident but are still unsure of what spooked the horses. 

Nearly 30 people were injured and one person was killed in the accident. The number of injuries could be higher, though, as police say there were apparently numerous others who suffered only minor injuries and might not have chosen to report them.

Police say the horses got spooked, ran down the street pulling the buggy with six people on board.  Mardell Steines, the owner, was thrown from the buggy and tried to grab the reins, but he was unsuccessful.  Kevin Steines, son of the owner, then jumped from the buggy to try and grab the reins but was also unsuccessful. 

The buggy the struck a tree, throwing Janet Steines, wife of the owner, from the buggy.  She died from injuries sustained in the accident.

Jennifer Steines, Kevin's wife, and their two children, Aubree and Keegan, survived the accident. They were also in the buggy from the start.

After striking the tree, the horses became disconnected from the buggy and continued running until they collided with a van.

"With a significant event like this, we'll probably be telling it to our children and grandchildren for years to come," Bellevue mayor Virgil Murray said.

The report also said Janet Steines tried yelling to warn others of the coming horses as she sat on the out-of-control buggy.

"There are so many heroes in terms of people - parents, who pulled their kids away, strangers, who pulled other people away, the dispatcher who kept his cool, trying to get everyone to the right location, the first responders," Murray said.

One horse suffered a broken leg and had to be put down by a Jackson County veterinarian.

Police determined that fireworks, sirens, vehicle horns, backfires, squealing tires and children throwing things did not factor into this accident.

However, the report also says a purple martin birdhouse stood right next to where the horses and buggy were lined up for the parade. Police say witnesses saw birds, apparently agitated, swooping around the people, vehicles and animals near the birdhouse.

As of Monday afternoon, the Bellevue Parade Victims Fund had more than $170,000 dollars. That will help cover medical expenses for the people injured in the parade.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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