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Five Injured When Stagecoach Overturns At Indiana State Fair

Last updated on Monday, August 13, 2012

(INDIANPOLIS) - One person remains hospitalized after a stagecoach flipped on its side at the Indiana State Fair, Sunday evening.

The driver and the Indiana State Fair Queen, Erika Burghardt, were on the top of the stage coach and there were four people inside the stage coach.

Five people were taken to the hospital after a stage coach flipped on its side at the Indiana State Fair, Sunday evening.

Around 5 p.m., the opening entertainment began before the 8-horse hitch competition inside the Pepsi Coliseum at the fairgrounds.

Matthew Hall videotaped the entertainment before the show. "We had just sat down (and) here comes the stagecoach. They cued it to come right in," Matthew Hall described.

"They were galloping around. They did one turn and they came around and did another turn and they were doing a figure eight and as soon as he started to turn towards the right towards us, the stagecoach flipped to the left and the horses stopped still," Laura McGinnis described.

The driver and the Indiana State Fair Queen, Erika Burghardt, were on the top of the stagecoach and there were four people inside the stagecoach.
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"It made a wide turn and about halfway through the turn the stagecoach started giving away,"Joe Bartlett said who was inside the Pepsi Coliseum, watching it when it happened.

Burghardt was thrown from the stagecoach and so was the driver who is from Iowa and has 20 years of experience. Officials said the driver whose name has not been released, has owned that stagecoach for four years. Officials said he was seen on site by medical personal and was not taken to the hospital.

"As soon as that happened there were people there immediately. (There was) a gentleman (who) came out, grabbed the horses (to) keep (them) under control," Hall said.

State officials said they had EMS personal on standby that got to the accident within 20 seconds, before other help arrived. State officials mentioned they had to help take out the other people who were inside the stagecoach. Five people were taken to Methodist with minor injuries. People inside the coliseum were evacuated.

"It was probably 10 or 15 minutes they told everybody to get out," McGinnis said.

Regarding their procedures, state officials said they immediately dealt with the people who were injured, secured the area, and then made the decision to evacuate people.

"It's too early to tell exactly what happened or what went wrong," Chief Operating Officer David Shaw said.

Shaw said they made the decision to restart the competition at 6:30, once they had spoken with the State Fair Director.

"I don't know what the state fair could have done to avoid this because it just looked like it was one of those things. It is eerie how close it is to the anniversary of that other tragic event. (It hasn't been) two good years for the state fair," Bartlett said.

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