Editor’s Note: This article is part of BeaverCountian.com’s ongoing series, “The Beaver County Coronavirus Chronicles,” the county’s historical experience of the pandemic. Click here to see more of the series.
Tina Nicgorski and Donna Huffman, both laid-off Shell cracker plant bus drivers, went horseback riding Sunday to take their minds off of things.
Instead, a reckless driver left the two with more worries.
“We were riding on a ride I’ve taken all my life,” Nicgorski said, adding she was leading on Mystic and Huffman following on Peaches in the Reno and Noonen street area of Rochester Township about 5:20 p.m.
The horses walked on a straight-away facing oncoming traffic because that’s the side of the road with a berm, she said.
A small white four-door car with two young women inside approached. Nicgorski said she could see it was on the white line and nearly into the berm. She tried to steer her horse further away from the road, but the car hit Huffman and Peaches behind her and then sped away.
“It happened so fast,” Huffman said, adding that she’ll never get the sound of the impact out of her head. “It sounded like two cars.” Huffman, shaking and in shock, jumped off Peaches. The horse circled her and pushed her nose to her in alarm.
“I believe they were speeding” or maybe they were otherwise occupied, Nicgorski said of the car’s occupants. In either event, they weren’t paying attention to the roadway. “It’s a clear view of what is in front of you.”
Another vehicle waiting to make a turn witnessed the incident, Nicgorski said. The passenger got out and helped Nicgorski walk Peaches home while the driver drove Huffman.
Huffman thinks the car’s mirror may have caught her foot in the saddle stirrup and heaved her upward, causing a bad bruise on the back of her leg.
Today, the two were back at the barn. Huffman brought mints for Peaches.
Huffman said she was having a little trouble walking.
Nicgorski grew up in the Rochester area, and still keeps her five horses and a pony at a Rochester Township farm. She now lives in Lisbon, Ohio. Huffman lives in New Beaver Borough, Lawrence County.
The two, who people often comment look like sisters, said they’re still waiting to get something in the mail about their unemployment.
Nicgorski’s said Peaches has swelling and a long horizontal cut on her hind quarter. She’s keeping salve on it and keeping an eye on her. She said the horse is a little skittish and she expects she’ll need a lot of training to ride near traffic again.
“I believe she’s going to be a little gun shy,” Nicgorski said, adding Peaches was her calmest horse. “I think this is going to ruin her.”
Some people have suggested she call a veterinarian to give Peaches a thorough look. “But with no work, I have no money,” she said.
Rochester Township police are asking anyone with information about the driver to call them at (724) 774-7278. They said the car may be a Kia Optima and may have passenger side damage and possibly a broken mirror.
Editor’s Note: CLICK HERE TO SEND YOUR OWN STORY TO BEAVERCOUNTIAN.COM