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Driver charged with DUI after allegedly hitting horse during Utah County parade

SHARE Driver charged with DUI after allegedly hitting horse during Utah County parade
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Devon Dewey

A Payson man accused of driving onto a parade route in Spanish Fork and hitting a man and his horse had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit, according to prosecutors.

Dionicio Vasquez, 57, was charged Monday in 4th District Court with reckless endangerment and negligently operating a vehicle resulting in injury, class A misdemeanors; DUI, a class B misdemeanor; having an open alcoholic container in his car, a class C misdemeanor; and failing to obey a flagger, an infraction.

Saturday, at about 8:30 p.m. near 850 N. Main Street in Spanish Fork, police attempted to pull Vasquez over after he failed to stop at a temporary barricade that was set up for the city's Festival of Lights parade, according to a police booking affidavit.

"Dionicio proceeded through the barricade, ignoring officers' commands to stop, and sped off. As Dionicio drove southbound, people that were watching the parade had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by Dionicio's car," the affidavit states.

At 300 N. Main Street, Vasquez hit a man riding a horse in the parade. According to one witness, Vasquez was going 30 to 35 mph before hitting his brakes, but by then, it was too late.

"He slid right into the back of the horse," Steve Adams said. "The rider came off and then fell in front of the car."

Fortunately, Trent Anderson received minor injuries. His horse, Duncan, was able to finish walking the rest of the parade route.

"The sparks coming off of her feet ... I'm grateful that she was able to slide and she's OK," Anderson said Sunday. "We're both sore today."

Trent Anderson and his 27-year-old horse, Duncan, during the parade before a car hit them.

Trent Anderson and his 27-year-old horse, Duncan, during the parade before a car hit them.

KSL-TV

Officers who approached Vasquez's vehicle say they immediately observed that he had "red glossy eyes, dry mouth and slurred speech," the affidavit states.

Vasquez would not open his door for the officers, forcing police to pull him out of the car and then put him in custody, according to the affidavit.

"On our way to the jail and while at the jail, Dionicio kept shaking his head, sighing, cursing and saying, 'Very bad,'" the affidavit states.

At the jail, Vasquez claimed he had had about five beers that night, but then also claimed "he had been drinking all night the night before."

"I asked why he drove past the parade barricade and ignored officers' commands to stop. Dionicio said that he accelerated past the barricade because he thought he could get away from officers," officers wrote in their affidavit.

Vasquez's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.228%, the affidavit states.