Horse-drawn carriage operator killed
The operator of a new carriage service in Bandera was killed Tuesday afternoon when an SUV crashed into her horse-drawn vehicle just outside of town, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Tuesday.
“It was a horrible, horrible accident,” Mayor Suzanne Schauman said Wednesday of the crash that claimed the life of Fonda Freeman and her horse, Eli, and injured Freeman’s sister, who also was in the wagon.
Freeman, 52, a resident of Bandera, was issued city permits around October to operate the Cowboy Capital Carriage Service, Schauman said.
The passenger, Felicia Schoeneweis, 45, of Bandera, is being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center. A family member said her injuries were not serious.
DPS Sgt. Orlando Moreno said the wagon was eastbound on FM 3240 at 12:14 p.m. Tuesday when, “for reasons unknown,” it was struck from behind by a 2012 Chevrolet Traverse driven by Judith Bishop, 69, of Bandera.
Bishop was not injured in the crash, which occurred near the intersection with Texas 173, Moreno said, adding, “The investigation is ongoing and all contributing factors are not yet known.”
Bandera Fire Marshal John Stith said he was the first emergency responder at the scene and saw a woman lying in the road and the car’s driver standing beside her vehicle. He found the carriage operator deceased in the overturned carriage.
“I called AirLife when I got there due to the injuries I saw on the lady lying in the road,” he said.
“They ultimately had to put the horse down,” he added.
Justice of the Peace Lynn Holt, who was reported to have pronounced Freeman dead, could not be reached Wednesday.
Cowboy Capital Carriage Service was advertised at the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau’s director, Patricia Moore, said she’d not taken a ride yet.
“It was a one-horse carriage similar to what you see around Alamo Plaza,” Moore said.
Freeman was described as “a sweetheart” by Art Crawford, president of the Bandera Economic Improvement Corp., which helped underwrite her new business.
“She had driven carriages in Fredericksburg for years and wanted to open a business here in her hometown,” he said Wednesday. ”Thanksgiving Day was her very first ride. It looked like she was going to have a very successful business. It’s a huge loss for our town.”
Zeke MacCormack is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer.
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