PORTAGE TOWNSHIP | A 3-year-old Chicago boy died Monday evening after he was placed on a horse and it reared up and fell on him, Porter County police spokesman Lt. Chris Eckert said.
Amier Sanchez, of the 6400 block of South Whipple Street in Chicago, died at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart at 7:48 p.m. Monday, the Lake County coroner's office said in a news release. The accident occurred about 6:30 p.m.
The cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma suffered in an accident.
Victor Maldonado, owner of the small Portage Township horse farm where the accident happened, told The Times that the horse's owner -- a Chicago resident -- brought a friend and the friend's son, Amier Sanchez, to see the horse. The friend sat his son on the horse and the horse then "went up and backward," dumping the child and falling on him, Maldonado said.
Maldonado said he's not aware of any similar accidents involving that horse or any of the 18 horses he owns or boards at his farm. Maldonado said the horse, which had been at the farm for three or four months, is an approximately 6-year-old stallion called Oreo, which is white with dark spots, weighs about 1,000 pounds and is about 5-foot-8 when standing on all four legs. It was calmly lounging in its stall Tuesday evening.
Maldonado said he was nearby when the accident happened but did not witness it. He said an ambulance was called immediately and the boy, although he appeared to be in shock, was not bleeding and did begin to cry as he was being led away. He was surprised to find out the boy died.
Maldonado said he thought the horse was being walked with the boy on it when the accident occurred, but his wife, Sandra, thought the horse was tied up in a corral at the time of the accident.
Eckert said police will confer with Child Protective Services, something they do anytime there is a fatal or serious injury accident. That doesn't indicate anyone did anything wrong.
"This appears to be a freak accident," Eckert said.
"Every horse is different. You never know what happens," Victor Maldonado said.
The farm, at 739 W. County Road 700 North in Portage Township, was bought by Victor Maldonado about five years ago. He since has built a barn, which he calls Ranch El Sauce.
Times staff writers Ken Kosky, Lauri Harvey Keagle, Bob Kasarda and John Scheibel contributed to this report.