A horse dragged for several hundred yards on the highway. Authorities say it happened here in central Nebraska. The driver was charged with Cruel Neglect of an Animal.
The Dawson County Sheriff's Department got the call around 11 o'clock on the night of July fourth. The crime spans three counties, as the driver made his way from Sumner to Kearney.
21-year-old Tyler Brockman was on his way home to Kearney, after a night at the rodeo in Sumner. He apparently was unaware that he didn't untie his horse and put him in the trailer before taking off in his pickup.
David Jeffrey, an eyewitness, said, "My 16-year-old daughter and my 11-year-old son had to witness that, but it's also something that we couldn't turn a blind eye to."
Penny Jeffrey, an eyewitness, said, "Dave was driving and he inched out on the highway to get the guy's attention so he would stop and he was flashing his lights and honking his horn. The guy drove by us. He didn't notice."
The horse was dragged to death in front of their eyes.
"The horse was trying to keep up, but he was tied securely to the trailer and as we were behind him, the horse went down and was dragging. It was dark and the horse had shoes on and sparks where flying everywhere and it was horrific. It was just horrific," said Penny.
They decided to pass him.
"I rolled down the window and was yelling and screaming my loudest at him and he just did
not pay any attention to us," added Penny.
They managed to edge in front of the truck and forced Brockman to stop.
"He got out of the truck and instead of running to the back of the trailer, he went to the hitch. And that was it. I just lost it. He was out of it. The horse was down and we figured he was dead," said Penny.
The Jeffries then dialed 9-1-1. When Dawson County deputies got there, Brockman was gone. They contacted Buffalo County because they suspected he was intoxicated. Authorities there caught up with him and charged him with D.U.I. That same night, Dawson County deputies cited him with Cruel Neglect of an Animal.
Gary Reiber, Dawson County Sheriff, said, "The animal really has nothing to do. It's just like a child abuse case. The child has no control over the situation whatsoever."
Two days later, authorities found the horse dead on a farm field eight miles north of Funk in Phelps County. Officials say Brockman works for the owner of the property.
The Jeffrey family is now waiting for justice.
"I just certainly hope he takes responsibility and admits he screwed up and takes steps to make sure it never happens again," said David.
Brockman will appear in Dawson County Court on July 28th for his arraignment. If convicted on the animal cruelty charge, he could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Reporter's Notes by Jessica Phinney:
David Jeffrey said he went back to the scene afterward and estimates the horse was dragged 300 to 400 feet.
Update: May 07, 2010
LEXINGTON — A man accused of dragging a horse behind his trailer last summer was sentenced to seven days in jail and two years probation Friday.
Tyler C. Brockman, 22, of Kearney was sentenced in Dawson County District Court. Brockman was previously convicted of cruelty and neglect to an animal, a Class IV felony, in the July 4 incident.
According to court records, after attending a rodeo in Sumner he went to a bar and drank five to six beers. Before entering the bar, he had tied a horse to the back of his stock trailer. He left and drove through Sumner with the horse still tied to the trailer.
Brockman drug the horse for about a mile before a person stopped him just east of Sumner. The horse was put into the trailer, and Brockman left the area.
Brockman was stopped later that evening in Buffalo County and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The horse was later found dead on a farm north of Funk.
In court Friday, Brockman told District Judge James E. Doyle he had made restitution for the loss of the horse, which he did not own. He said he had entered an outpatient program for the treatment of alcohol abuse and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
Doyle ordered Brockman not to own nondomestic animals or to be involved in handling animals. He will be allowed to work with animals owned by other people.
Brockman has already been convicted of driving under the influence in Buffalo County and served a 15-day sentence. He was also placed on nine months probation, ordered to pay a $500 fine, had his license suspended for one year, and was required to complete an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program.
Update: March 13, 2010
A Kearney man has been found guilty of felony animal cruelty after police say he dragged a horse behind his trailer last summer.
Tyler Brockman, 22, pleaded no contest Friday in Dawson County District Court to one count of felony cruelty to an animal resulting in injury or death.
Judge James Doyle ordered Brockman to undergo a presentence investigation to be conducted by the state probation department.
Sentencing will be in May. Brockman faces up to five years in prison.
Brockman had participated in the annual July 4 rodeo at Sumner. Court records said after the rodeo, he went to the bar and drank what he later told a counselor was five to six beers before leaving.
Before entering the bar, Brockman had tied a horse to the back of his stock trailer. After leaving the bar, Brockman left in the pickup and drove through Sumner with the horse still tied to the back of the trailer.
Brockman dragged the horse for about a mile before a person stopped him just east of Sumner. The horse was put into the trailer, and Brockman left the area.
Brockman was stopped later that evening in Buffalo County and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The horse was found dead July 6 on a farm north of Funk in Phelps County.
Kearney resident Tyler Brockman appeared in Dawson County Court Tuesday morning on accusations that he allegedly drove a stock trailer through the town of Sumner with his horse still tied to the back. The charge, cruelty to animals resulting in injury or death, is a Class IV felony.
Brockman will appear Aug. 10 at 11:15 a.m. with his Kearney-based attorney, Nathan Bruner, for a preliminary hearing where he will formally enter a plea.
The 21-year-old Brockman had been a participant at a July 4 rodeo in Sumner and was leaving the town when witnesses realized the man neglected to untie his horse from the back of his stock trailer, said Dawson County Sheriff Gary Reiber. A citizen stopped the Brockman just east of Sumner, where Brockman put the horse into the trailer.
About 11 p.m. that evening, a Buffalo County deputy sheriff stopped the man just east of Amherst, and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol-first offense. Friends retrieved the Brockman's pickup, trailer and horse.
Two days later, on July 6, the horse was found dead in Phelps County on a farm north of Funk on V Road. Officials say Brockman worked for the owner of the farm.