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By Sue Montgomery - The Gazette

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A spooked horse pulling a caleche raced down Notre Dame St. W. in crowded Old Montreal today, tore through a red light and smashed into a transport truck, sending the cart's driver hurtling through the air and onto the sidewalk.

Tour bus driver Jacques Belisle had just unloaded his Italian passengers onto the sidewalk when the horse went racing by.

"It was just like in a movie," he said.

The truck driver, a shaken Abderrahim Rabii, said he was driving south on St. Pierre St. and stopped at the red light at the corner of Notre Dame. When the light turned green, he turned left onto St. Pierre and the caleche ran the red light, slamming into the front corner of his eight-wheel Kenmore truck.

"The driver, a woman, was very young and she just flew through the air," he said. "It happened so quickly."

There were no passengers in the caleche, which are very popular with tourists in Old Montreal.

The caleche driver was taken away by ambulance, but didn't suffer any serious injuries. The horse, which continued east on Notre Dame St. before coming to a stop, wasn't injured.

But the caleche was ruined - all four wheels were broken and the horse's harness snapped.

A woman working at a nearby shop said the horse was spooked by the sound of a jack-hammer at a construction site on Notre Dame St.

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