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Whoa! Horse takes family for a wild ride in downtown S.L.

It was a wild scene in downtown Salt Lake City late Saturday night when a runaway horse, pulling a carriage with seven people, including three children and a driver, ran for several blocks, dragging the driver, running over a police officer's bicycle and hitting a parked car before finally coming to a stop.

"That was probably the most scared they've ever been in their lives," mother Jami Rodriguez said of her children, who screamed the entire time.

Amazingly, all of the injuries were minor.

"We could have totally died. All I was thinking was I was going to lose my best friend," said young Kaitlyn Shosky, still in tears about 20 minutes after the wild ride was over, as she hugged fellow passenger Payton Gray.

The incident began after 10 p.m. when Rodriquez and her family, from Idaho Falls, got into a horse carriage in front of Benihana, 165 S. West Temple. As the horse started moving, it suddenly went into a trot.

As it moved off State Street and toward the Wells Fargo Building, the horse apparently became spooked and took off.

"I thought it was part of an act. I thought the horse was supposed to be running," said Cindy Croft.

The family realized it was no act, however, when the carriage driver asked Art Rodriguez, the husband, to get out and hold the horse's head in an effort to calm it down.

But when the animal was seemingly spooked again, it took off in a full sprint, dragging the carriage driver as it clipped the Wells Fargo building. Rodriguez somehow managed to get back into the carriage.

"I was just shaking and crying," said Gray.

Near 300 South Main Street, a Salt Lake City police officer on a bicycle saw what was happening and tried to help. The horse finally came to a stop when the carriage hit a parked car, causing a significant dent in the rear side panel, ran over the police officer's bicycle and parts of the carriage's wheels broke off.

At that point, everyone jumped out.

"I was just so happy no one got hurt, it was a miracle," said Gray, who noted this was her first carriage ride.

The carriage driver was taken to a local hospital. The extent of his injuries were not known Saturday night, but were reported to not be serious. An ambulance also came to check out the family members, who were released at the scene and walked back to their hotel.

The horse didn't appear seriously injured and was led away.