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Horse gallops down Dan Ryan Expressway, leaving puzzled motorists with more equestrians than answers

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CHICAGO — It was like the Wild West on the outbound Dan Ryan Expressway during rush hour Monday where the surreal scene of a horse galloping down the interstate left puzzled motorists with more equestrians than answers.

A public figure known as the "Dreadhead Cowboy" rode a horse down the middle of the highway for about half an hour, at a speed estimated around 13 mph

The Illinois State Police ended up arresting "Dreadhead Cowboy" Adam Hollingsworth, a 33-year-old Chicago resident, for reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer, and criminal trespass to state-supported property, and also arrested Darron Luster, a 55-year-old Chicagoan, for obstructing and resisting arrest.

Hollingsworth rode more than seven miles down southbound Interstate 94 in support of his #kidslivesmatter movement, which has sought to end gun violence in the city. He has previously marched his horse around South Side neighborhoods in protest of shootings. 

“When you get kids occupied and they’ve got things to do with their time and their life … all this senseless killing that’s going on, it’ll slow down a whole lot,” Hollingsworth told Block Club Chicago at a protest in Woodlawn in August. “It’s important to support dance groups (or) anything that’s got something to do with kids. If it’s something positive, support it.”

Multiple people called 911 to report a horse got on Interstate 94 southbound at 35th Street Monday afternoon. Officers arrived at the scene on 71st Street, where they found the horse and rider in the local lanes while flanked by a protective entourage of motorcycles and cars, many displaying #kidslivesmatter signage.

"Officers asked the subjects to exit the Interstate multiple times and Hollingsworth refused. Due to the safety of the subjects involved, motoring public, and the horse, officers ordered the protesters off the interstate," Illinois State Police said in a press release. "Officers safely escorted the subjects and horse off the Interstate at 95th Street. Hollingsworth was ordered off the horse and placed under arrest for reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer, and criminal trespass to state-supported property without incident."

Troopers found the horse had several injuries, including a bleeding left hoof and sores from the saddle.

Luster then tried to secure the horse and was arrested after being asked repeatedly by officers to release it, according to a press release.

Illinois State Police and the Chicago Police Department met with Hollingsworth earlier this month about a planned protest on the Dan Ryan Expressway, where they told him "he would not be allowed on the Dan Ryan Expressway because it is dangerous and illegal for pedestrians to access the expressway in that manner."

The horse has been taken to Animal Care and Control, where they are taking a look at its condition.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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