Four people are now recovering after what police called a freak accident involving a horse-drawn wagon.
It happened Sunday evening around 7:30 p.m. on Water Street in Clinton, Maine, near Waterville. One woman was airlifted a hospital after the crash.
Just before the accident, the wagon was stopped and the man handling two horses pulling it got out to fix a part.
Suddenly, the horses bolted. The handler told police the animals may have been bitten by flies.
The wagon and four women were then pulled at high speed down a back road, smashing into two telephone poles and a car.
The women were thrown to two different locations and most of them suffered broken bones.
"It was a horrendous crash," said William Robbins, who heard the wagon barreling down the street and told someone helping him move a car to run out of the way. "It was a lot worse than any car accident than anyone could've imagined."
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Police are calling the incident strange, but they do not believe the wagon's operator broke any laws.
They also wanted to clarify that the wagon is a modern open one, like you would see on a hayride, not an Amish carriage like the ones found in some other Maine towns.
"We have an Amish community, but they're a couple towns away from us," said police officer Phil DeLuca.
Police are thanking neighbors and bystanders for quickly rushing to the aid of victims. They say the reactions of people on the scene and first responders prevented an even worse outcome.