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DeLand man accused of running over horse, rider convicted of 3 felonies

Christopher Todd faces 35 years in state prison

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(Volusia County Jail)
A DeLand man who was accused of running over a horse and rider last year entered a "no contest" plea to felony charges of aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, killing a horse and leaving the scene of a crash with injury.

Christopher Todd, 22, faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in a state prison facility. The court ordered a presentencing investigation.

Prosecutors were prepared to select a jury on Monday when Todd entered an open plea in front of Circuit Judge James Clayton, according to a news release from the state attorney.

Todd was was driving recklessly in a 2015 Dodge Ram near horses at French Landing in Orange City last year, officials said.

"A friend of the victim approached Todd’s vehicle and got into a confrontation about Todd’s driving near the horses. Todd revved his engine, turning up dirt, and drove his truck at the group. Todd’s truck struck and killed Ellie Mae, a black Tennessee walking horse, and injured her rider, Chloe Sloan," according to the news release.

Witnesses told deputies that Todd continued to push the gas pedal until Sloan fell off the hood and the horse was no longer stuck to the front grille. The Sheriff's Office said Sloan ran into nearby woods and Todd circled the dying horse before driving off.

Sloan, who was thrown from the horse, took cover in the woods to escape from Todd. Deputies stopped Todd’s truck approximately 30 miles from the scene of the crime. The truck had horse hair embedded in the grille and damage consistent with hitting the horse, Ellie Mae," according to the news release.

DELAND, Fla. – The sentencing hearing has not been set.