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Man gets 5 years for killing horse in Volusia hit-and-run

Christopher Todd also accused of injuring rider

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(Volusia County Jail)

DeLAND, Fla. – A DeLand man was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for killing a horse in a hit-and-run crash that also injured the animal's rider.

Christopher Todd, 22, faced a maximum sentence of 35 years after pleading no contest to a felony charge of aggravated battery with a motor vehicle, killing a horse and leaving the scene of a crash with injury.

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

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. Officials 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 about 30 miles away. The truck had horse hair embedded in the grille and damage consistent with hitting the horse, officials said.