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Mother upset about family's close call in carriage crash at Thanksgiving Point

Children run from playhouse to playhouse exploring what each one on display at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi has to offer.
Children run from playhouse to playhouse exploring what each one on display at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi has to offer.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

LEHI — Nichole Jones says she feels extremely lucky that she and her children were not seriously injured in a carriage ride crash Wednesday at Thanksgiving Point.

Still, Jones said, the crash left her worried that others may be harmed in the future.

The crash occurred when the horses pulling the carriage, apparently being driven by a teenage girl, became spooked and crashed into two trees, Jones said. She and her four children, from 4 months to 9 years old, suffered various cuts, bruises, a bloody nose and a scratched eye, she said, but it could have been a lot worse.

"The cart hit the tree and all of us flew out of our seats and one of our little boys fell out of our cart entirely and was underneath (close to) where the wheels were," she said. "The horses were still kind of moving and the cart's moving and he's under there."

The crash left Jones concerned that the teenage girl driving the horses didn't know how to control them or handle the incident once the animals were spooked.

"She panicked. And I feel bad for her, it was not her fault. I feel bad for her, but she was definitely not in control of the situation," Jones said.

Josh Berndt, spokesman for Thanksgiving Point, said the resort has reached out to Jones to check up on her family's well-being.

"The safety of our patrons is No. 1 with everything," Berndt said.

The crash is the first of its kind in more than 12 years at Thanksgiving Point and officials there are reviewing what happened, Berndt said. "Anytime there’s an accident, obviously we investigate."

Brendt added that he believes the trainer handled the emergency in the safest way possible.

"They’re trained to run (the horses) into a tree or some kind of wall or something to stop the wagon from continuing on" and picking up speed, he said.

Jones, however, said she is not satisfied with the response she received from workers there. She said she wasn't approached when she left to take her children to a doctor's office to be treated for their cuts and said the carriage rides had resumed as normal Thursday, minus the impacted tree, which was cut down.

"Maybe they don't understand how bad that could have turned out," she said.

According to Berndt, the horse and its trainer are on a brief break to get additional training before serving customers again. Berndt also said Jones and her family left to get medical treatment before security workers had an opportunity to speak with her. Thanksgiving Point communicated with Jones on Thursday for help assessing what happened, he said.

Lehi police said they were not called out to the incident.

Contributing: Brianna Bodily, Nicole Vowell


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