Authorities have identified the driver of a packed horse-drawn wagon that went out of control for nearly a mile in Kandiyohi County.
Fred R. Zwart, 80, of New London, Minn., suffered fatal injuries on Dec. 10 and died five days later at Hennepin County Medical Center, the medical examiner’s office said Friday.
Several of the passengers suffered minor injuries in the moments after Zwart lost control of the wagon because of a heart attack.
The wagon ride was connected to the annual “Celebrate the Light of the World” display, a well-known holiday celebration in the Willmar area for nearly a decade.
The horses pulled the wagon over a home’s basketball pole and dragged the pole and hoop for about a quarter-mile before they stopped.
The incident occurred about 7:20 p.m. near the intersection of County Roads 26 and 9, just east of Eagle Lake and northeast of Willmar. The two horses took off after the driver slumped over, unable to direct them, according to Jeffrey DeMars, a Salvation Army spokesman.
The event, held at the Willmar home of Chad Koosman, has raised money for the Salvation Army for several years. The horses belong to another local resident, DeMars said.
Of the 15 passengers on the wagon, several were taken to the hospital with noncritical injuries and most were treated and released, the Sheriff’s Office said. The horses weren’t injured.