Fate of police horse in fatal incident in doubt

The police horse that bolted outside Candlestick Park before a 49ers exhibition game on Saturday, killing a 78-year old fan, has been removed from official duties until an equine expert can assessed whether it's fit to return to the force.

The horse, named Seattle, was apparently startled after being blinded by a plastic bag that had been whipped up by the wind and caught in its bridle.  As the horse tried to shake the bag loose, it fell backwards and lost its veteran rider before taking off across a charter bus parking lot off on Ingerson Avenue.  It first knocked into a 47-year-old Millbrae man and then slammed into 78-year-old Roseville resident Eugene Caldwell, whose head hit the ground as he fell. 

The horse was eventually brought under control just outside of Gate B by a fan attending the game.

The officer and the Millbrae man suffered minor injuries and were both treated at the scene and released.

Caldwell was brought to San Francisco General Hospital, where he later died, according to the San Francisco medical examiner.

The horse will not be used during this Sunday's regular-season opener against Arizona at Candlestick, said SFPD spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens.

The police department has plans to hire a contractor who frequently works for The City to examine the horse, Gittens told The Examiner.

“We're having an independent evaluation and assessment by a horse expert to determine if the horse is OK,” Gittens said. “If not, all our horses go to a ranch up in Sonoma County, and that's where that horse will go.”

A decision on the horse's future is expected within a few weeks, according to Gittens.

Seattle has been with the mounted police force for more than three years.  The equestrian officer is a 28-year veteran of the police department including 10 years with the mounted patrol unit.

San Francisco has mounted horses at 49ers games so that officers have a better view of activities in the parking lot, according to Gittens.

The department contacted Caldwell's family to extend its condolences, according to his widow, Glenda.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Rancho Cordova, she said.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read