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Lawsuit filed over July 4 parade rampage in Iowa

SHARE Lawsuit filed over July 4 parade rampage in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — The parents of a child who was injured when two horses bolted during a Fourth of July parade in Bellevue are suing the owner of the horses for negligence.

Jessica Mack, of Bettendorf, was among 24 people injured when the horses, which were pulling a buggy, were spooked.

The owner of the horses, Mardell Steines, of Springbrook, was driving the buggy with his wife, Janet, and three relatives. Janet Steines was thrown from the buggy and died.

In a lawsuit filed Aug. 11 in Jackson County District Court in Maquoketa, Steven Mack and Stacey Mack claimed eight careless or negligent acts by Steines.

The allegations include improperly operating the horse drawn carriage, failure to properly train the horses, failure to properly inspect the rigging and bridles, and failure to have a groom lead the carriage.

According to the lawsuit, Jessica Mack sustained severe and permanent injuries.

The Macks are seeking a jury trial.

Telephone messages on Tuesday to the Macks' attorney, Charles Wallace of Chicago, and to Steines were not immediately returned. Online court records don't list an attorney for Steines.

The Macks also ask that Steines preserve all evidence, including the carriage, all the rigging and tack and records about the horses' medical conditions and treatment.

The accident happened when one horse became agitated and rubbed its head against the other, dislodging the second horse's bridle, police said. As the Steines' son Craig tried to replace the bridle, the horses started moving forward and turning, throwing Mardell Steines off the buggy. He held onto the reins and tried to stop the horses.

Another son unsuccessfully tried to gain control of the horses, and Janet Steines yelled warnings to the crowd as the buggy was pulled down the street until it struck a tree and she was thrown out, police said.

Witnesses told The Associated Press that the horses struck crowd members, leaving a trail of injured and screaming bystanders. Several children had to be carried away on stretchers.

The horses continued to run until they collided with a van. One horse broke its leg and was put down. The other horse survived.