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Phila. horse carriage crash prompts calls for a ban

A serious accident in downtown Philadelphia involving three horse carriages today - that injured three people - is renewing calls to put the carriages out to pasture.

A serious accident in downtown Philadelphia involving three horse carriages today - that injured as many as five people and five horses - is renewing calls to put the carriages out to pasture.

The newly-formed group Peace Advocacy Network (PAN) - which just this weekend held a demonstration to end what they call a "dangerous and exploitive industry" - said the accident is evidence that carriages have no place on busy city streets.

Brandon Gittleman, the group's vice president and director of its horse-drawn carriage campaign, wants the city to outlaw carriages and is urging Philadelphia City Councilman Frank DiCicco - whose district includes Independence Mall where the carriages operate -  to support a ban on the dangerous horse-drawn carriage industry "before another accident occurs."

Gittleman said he'd like to see a city ordinance like legislation now under consideration in New York state that would replace carriages used in New York City's Central Park with hybrid-electric cars, that are replicas of classic cars.

PAN will hold another demonstration against horse-drawn carriages on April 24, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on 6th Street between Market and Chestnut.

Here's the news story from the Inquirer this morning:

Three people were injured this morning when a car hit a horse carriage on Independence Mall and triggered a chain-reaction crash involving two other horse-drawn coaches, police said.

No horses were seriously hurt, police said, although they broke free on impact and had to be rounded up after the 10 a.m. accident.

Two carriage drivers were taken to Jefferson Hospital in serious but stable condition, police said. The driver of the car was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital.

Police said the three carriages were stopped at the red light on North Sixth Street at Race when a black car driven by an elderly man slammed into the rear coach, pushing it across Arch Street into a fence and knocking aside the other carriages.

The horses broke free because their harnesses are designed to release them if the carriage is hit.

The accident backed up traffic in the area for almost two hours and prompted police to close the exit ramp from I-676 to Sixth Street, a main feeder to the Ben Franklin Bridge.

An investigation is under way.