Dubuque native dies from horse fall - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque native dies from horse fall

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Michael Winter Michael Winter
GALENA, Ill. (KWWL) -

Jodi Winter looks back at pictures of her brother, but now those memories mean more than ever before.

"You know I'm still waiting to get the call that he's fine, but obviously it's not gonna happen," said Jodi, who lives in Galena, Illinois.

Her big brother, 39-year-old Michael Winter died after being thrown from a horse. Michael was riding horseback for the sheriff's department during a Memorial Day Parade.

"He was on  the sheriff's posse and the horse, he got spooked, the horse got spooked by a noise...and threw him off. He tried jumping off the horse, but his foot got stuck," she added.

Micheal hit his head. His skull was fractured in three places. 

He wasn't wearing a helmet. "The doctor said that uh, if he would've had his helmet on, he would've walked away from it...he would still be here today," said Jodi.

It's the heartbreaking reality for Michael's family. They want to make sure no other family suffers a similar tragedy. "People are aware of, regardless of what a helmet looks like on you, what it feels like, what it does to your hair...it's life saving, it could...it's life and death right there," Jodi said.

Michael Winter leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

His sister tells KWWL the incident happening on Memorial Day is fitting. That's because Michael was a Navy veteran who loved to serve his community.

Because of his death, the Branch County Sheriff is now looking into making it a requirement for deputies to wear helmets.

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