Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 7:32 pm | Fog/Mist 60º


Horse Owner Files Suit Against Trailer Company in Crash

Two animals were killed and five others injured in March incident near Santa Barbara

The owner of seven champion horses killed or seriously injured when their transport trailer nearly overturned in March near Santa Barbara has filed a lawsuit against the hauling company and its driver, who was operating a trailer without proper licensing.

Sixth-generation horse trainer and breeder Shan de Wey of Termo, Calif., alleges in the civil claim that Mathew Gillispie of Triple-AC-Ranch in Arizona broke a contract when he picked up an eighth horse — after an agreed-upon exclusive trip — and then recklessly failed to maneuver a hairpin turn on Old San Marco Pass Road during the detour to drop it off in Santa Barbara.

Two of Wey’s horses were killed and five others were critically or seriously injured during the incident in the 2000 block of North San Marcos Road on March 28.

An eighth horse picked up in Madera on the route from Termo to Laveen, Ariz., suffered only minor injuries and was walked to its delivery point at Amapola Stables.

The suit, filed June 4, also alleges gross negligence and fraud, since Gillispie was operating the trailer without proper licenses.

The California Highway Patrol, which investigated the incident, confirmed this week that Gillispie was given a traffic citation for not having the proper California commercial license.

CHP determined the driver made an “unsafe turning movement” and had not obtained the Class A commercial license needed to operate a vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds, Officer John Gutierrez told Noozhawk.

The trailer carrying registered thoroughbreds, warmbloods and American paint horses weighed 16,200 pounds, Gutierrez said.

Wey is asking the court for more than $25,000 in damages, but an exact amount wasn’t given.

The horses were valued at nearly $60,000, however, and Wey requested compensation for emotional and financial distress because the horses were Wey’s only source of income through breeding, sales and equestrian events.

The suit said Triple-AC-Ranch was hired to transport six mares (females) for breeding and one gelding for sale.

A secret “dangerous detour” from a planned Nevada route followed, as the hauling company picked up an eighth horse in a trailer designed to hold seven, the suit said.

The eighth horse occupied space designed for storage, already holding hay and feed, Wey alleged.

Zorlion, a horse in the front trailer stall, was crushed and killed by the weight of the other horses after the driver lost control, she said.

The lone male, Diamonte Dan, had to be euthanized after struggling to exit the trailer and suffering a severe laceration near his hoof.

A third horse required skin grafts to cover exposed bone, and another suffered bleeding from the lungs.

The suit alleged all horses suffered extreme shock, muscle damage, lacerations, abrasions and severe weight loss due to trauma.

Wey herself allegedly experienced shock, anxiety, depression and nightmares, since she raised five of the seven horses and they were considered family.

According to the suit, Triple-A-Ranch has been in business since 2000.

The company could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and a listed phone number and website were not in service.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >