A 26-year-old West Ashley woman was ticketed Friday after Charleston police said she caused an accident by scaring two carriage horses with a Tyrannosaurus rex costume.
Nicole Wells of Ashley River Road was cited on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and wearing a mask or disguise on a public street, a city code violation, police said.
Wells was released after turning herself in Friday morning, spokesman Charles Francis said. She was not jailed.
The incident was reported shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday near Tommy Condon's restaurant on Church Street. Two Palmetto Carriage Works horses, named Yogi and Boo Boo, were pulling 16 passengers when a woman dressed in an orange Tyrannosaurus rex costume got in front of the carriage and started making growling noises, according to witnesses and the police report. She refused to move after being warned several times that she was upsetting the horses, driver Van Sturgeon said.
The horses jumped and jackknifed the carriage. Yogi fell back on his haunches. The driver was thrown to the pavement, and a wheel ran over his right leg. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. He was walking with crutches Friday with a bruised leg and broken foot.
Initially it was reported that Yogi was scratched but officials later confirmed he was not hurt. No passenger injuries were reported.
The dinosaur shuffled off to a parking garage on Cumberland Street and got into a car, according to surveillance video. Witnesses told police it was a woman.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Palmetto Carriage Works President Tom Doyle said staffers have seen people lay down in the street to stop the horses, as well as yell insults at drivers and passengers.
"We've seen the attacks getting more and more brazen, and we fear the result will be the death of one of our family, a guest or an animal," he said. "These attacks follow the increasingly irresponsible rhetoric coming from organizations that have one goal, and that goal is to end carriage tours in Charleston."
The Charleston Animal Society has been calling for reforms to the carriage industry and not a ban, but has reposted videos of fallen horses from groups whose agenda is to ban carriages. The Animal Society decried the dinosaur incident as animal cruelty and offered a $2,500 reward Thursday for an arrest and conviction.
The Animal Society has been trying to get carriage companies to agree to an independent study of how carriage horses tolerate pulling passengers in Charleston's heat and humidity.
Ben Doyle, Tom Doyle's son, said at the last meeting of the city's tourism commission that he would consider a discussion of what a study would entail if opponents would quit harassing drivers.
Thursday's incident further undermined the chances of that happening, Tom Doyle said.
"I don't know where the common ground is," he said. "They want me dead; I want me alive. Until they back off that ..."