Location: Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania
Date: January 27, 1991
On January 27, 1991, Wayne Shupe and his friend, Colleen Frey, took Wayne's horse and carriage for a ride on the back roads of Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania. Wayne had been training his horse, Spider, for one month to pull the antique carriage he had recently bought. Wayne turned off the highway onto a gravel road where Spider trotted toward Wayne's farm, four miles away.
Thick woods on Spider's right suddenly gave way to a field with a large bale of hay sitting by the road. The hay spooked Spider and he reared up and started to stamp his feet. Colleen jumped from the carriage to safety just before Spider took off in a panic and broke through an electric fence. This spooked Spider even more. He ran through the fence three different times, starting and stopping suddenly, causing Wayne to be thrown over the front of the carriage and get his right leg trapped in the spokes of the front wheel.
Colleen watched in horror as Spider galloped away with Wayne, who was straining to hang on and keep himself upright to prevent being crushed under the wheels of the carriage. Spider ran into the brush and Wayne was knocked unconscious. His horse dragged him a quarter-mile down the road, then into the woods, leaving a trail of broken trees in his wake. Colleen ran after Spider, screaming. She heard the initial crash of the carriage entering the woods, then she heard silence.
When Colleen reached Wayne, his leg was tangled in the wheel, and his clothes, which had been torn off his body, were wrapped around his throat. Colleen ripped the clothes from his neck. She couldn't untangle his foot, nor could she unharness the panicked horse by herself. Colleen had to get help fast becuse Wayne was having trouble breathing. It was also just a matter of time before Spider bolted again and dragged him to his death through the woods. Colleen ran for the nearest house.
Debra and David Seese and their children were out for a Sunday drive on a road they rarely traveled when Colleen frantically waved them down. David, not knowing what to expect, left his family in the car and followed Colleen into the woods. "When I first saw Wayne," recalls David, "I thought he was dead. The scene was a mess." David and Colleen jockeyed the carriage back and forth until David was able to untangle Wayne's leg and pull him out from under the carriage.
Meanwhile, Debra wondered what had happened to her husband and drove down to the road and shouted to him. David yelled back to go for help. Debra drove to the nearest house to call for help. Members of the Bushkill Township Volunteer Fire Company, the local police, and medic units were dispatched to the scene.
Because of the threat of internal injuries, Wayne had to be transported to the hospital quickly. He was bleeding badly from his head, had a depression on his right chest, which signaled a punctured lung, and he was combative, a sign of severe head trauma. Wayne was loaded into the ambulance, and, less than ten minutes later, arrived at the hospital.
Spider escaped the incident with only minor cuts, but Wayne suffered a collapsed lung, three broken ribs, a cracked sternum, dislocated shoulder, and multiple leg fractures. In spite of the accident, Spider is Wayne's favorite horse. "The happiest moment," says Colleen, "was when Wayne got out of his truck after he got home from the hospital. He went back to the barn and said, 'Hey, Spider, how you doing.' "
"My horse is a pal," says Wayne, "a good friend and buddy. Accidents happen. I will definitely get back in that carriage with Spider pulling it. I have no fear of that. If you fall off, you get back on again and ride." Wayne knows he's lucky to be alive and credits rescuers for his survival. "Everybody that came to my rescue was a fine, super crew and gave me the best medical attention they could. I have to say, they saved my life, and thank you."