Skip to main content

Horses pulling a wagon for a holiday event near Willmar went out of control

A holiday ride went off course when the horses got spooked.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Horses pulling a wagon for a holiday event near Willmar this weekend took passengers on a terrifying ride.

One man is in critical condition after the horse drawn wagon went out of control, according to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.

Passengers said in reports that an unknown source spooked the horses, who took off running onto County Rd 26 and then County Rd 9 for about three-quarters of a mile as the driver tried to regain control. One passenger noted that the driver did a good job of keeping the wagon from falling into the ditch.

Then the wagon turned into a driveway and crashed into a basketball pole, striking the driver and knocking him off his seat into the wagon, the sheriff's report says. At the same time, the wagon collapsed on the passengers.

But the horses kept going, with the basketball backboard, hoop, and pole dragging behind as they headed back out onto County Rd 9 heading Southbound for another quarter mile before a vehicle was able to slow and then stop the horses.

Authorities say there were about 15 passengers on the wagon, which was part of the annual "Celebrate the Light of the World" outdoor light festival north of Willmar, a fundraiser for the Salvation Army. Several passengers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The driver was found unresponsive with no pulse and not breathing - he was taken to Rice Hospital and later transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he is in critical condition.

Sources close to the driver have identified him as Fred Zwart of rural New London, West Central Tribune said. Zwart and his horse-drawn wagons are well-known in the area and often participate in community events, the paper noted.

Next Up

Anthony Edwards

Ant's injury clouds Timberwolves' victory over the Nets

The Timberwolves star was injured in the final minutes on Sunday night.

Akoya Lee

Byron native Ayoka Lee sets NCAA record for points in a game

The Kansas State forward broke a record shared by former Gopher Rachel Banham.

cold, wind chill, freezing

It's going to be stupid cold again Tuesday and Wednesday

They'll almost certainly be the 10th and 11th days with subzero temps this month.

Williams Uptown Pub

Williams Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar closes indefinitely after shooting

Reports say police have arrested two suspects in the incident.

Alex Rodríguez

A-Rod wears a Packers hat, Minnesotans lose their minds

The Timberwolves co-owner didn't endear himself to his fan base on Saturday night.

Flickr - Minneapolis police squad - Chad Davis

Police: Man shoots into crowd at funeral reception in Minneapolis

The shooting happened at a reception following a funeral on Saturday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2022-01-23 at 8.37.27 AM

Watch: Jimmy Garoppolo says 'F*** the Packers' after playoff win

The 49ers quarterback congratulated Robbie Gould in spectacular fashion.

Aaron Rodgers

America dunks on Aaron Rodgers after loss to 49ers

The Packers quarterback was destroyed on social media on Saturday night.

Marcus Foligno

Foligno's OT winner gives Wild fans a happy Hockey Day

A slow start gave way to the Wild's fifth win in the past six games.


Nicollet man killed in motorcycle crash Saturday morning

A 31-year-old motorcyclist went off the road and was killed. The State Patrol is investigating.

MN man crashed snowmobile, walked a mile before collapsing

This incident comes just two days after another Minnesota man was killed in a freak snowmobile accident.

Minnesota man killed in 'freak' snowmobile accident on NYE

His friends and family are calling it a freak accident.

Update: Driver turns himself in after Mankato hit-and-run

According to state law, drivers are required to stop after any type of accident.

Two women were run over while eating at a popular Minnesota drive-in

The women were sitting at a picnic table when an SUV rammed into them.

Motorcycle crash kills 61-year-old man in Chisago County

No other passengers or vehicles were involved in the crash.

Two pedestrians killed on Minnesota roads in separate crashes

The Department of Public Safety says pedestrian deaths are preventable.

Driver dies after crashing into carwash near Willmar

Police believe alcohol and drugs were a factor in the crash.