Driver charged with DUI after allegedly hitting horse during Utah County parade

SPANISH FORK, Utah — A Payson man accused of driving down a parade route in Spanish Fork and hitting a man and his horse had a blood alcohol level more than four times the legal limit, according to prosecutors.

Dionicio Vasquez, 57, was charged Monday in 4th District Court with reckless endangerment and negligent operation of a vehicle resulting in injury, Class A misdemeanors; DUI, class B misdemeanor; having an open container of alcohol in the car, a class C misdemeanor; and failure to obey a flagger, a misdemeanor.

Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, near 850 N. Main Street in Spanish Fork, police tried to pull Vasquez over after he failed to stop at a temporary barricade that had been set up for the city’s Festival of Lights parade , according to a police affidavit. .

EXCLUSIVE: Car crashes through barricades, hits horse and rider during Christmas parade

“Dionicio drove through the barricade, ignoring officers’ commands to stop and sped away. As Dionicio was driving south, people watching the parade had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by Dionicio’s car,” the statement said.

At 300 N. Main Street, Vasquez struck a man on a horse in the parade. According to a witness, Vasquez was going 30 to 35 mph before hitting the brakes, but by then it was too late.

“He slid right behind the horse,” Steve Adams said. “The rider broke away and then fell in front of the car.”

Fortunately, Trent Anderson received minor injuries. His horse, Duncan, was able to complete the rest of the parade route.

“The sparks coming out of the legs … I’m just thankful he was able to slide and he’s fine,” Anderson said Sunday. “Both of us are hurting today.”

Officers who approached Vasquez’s vehicle say they immediately noticed he had “glossy red eyes, a dry mouth and slurred speech,” the statement said.

Vasquez did not open his door for officers, forcing police to remove him from the car and then take him into custody, according to the affidavit.

“On our way to the jail and while in the jail, Dionicio continued to shake his head, sigh, swear and say, ‘Too bad,'” the statement said.

At the jail, Vasquez claimed he drank about five beers that night, but then also claimed he “drank all night the night before.”

“I asked why he drove past the parade barricade and ignored the officers’ commands to stop. Dionicio said he sped past the barricade because he thought he could get away from the officers,” the officers wrote in their affidavit.

Vasquez’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.228 percent, the affidavit said.

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