A 69-year-old man driving south on Crenshaw Boulevard just after 2 a.m. this morning crashed into a horse that was weaving through lanes near Palos Verdes Drive North, says the California Highway Patrol.
The coroner has since identified the driver, who was pronounced dead soon after at Torrance Memorial Hospital, as Rancho Palos Verdes resident Ryan Yonny Koyama.
CHP Officer John Tye says that in his 22 years at the department...
... he can't recall another instance in which a driver was killed in a collision with a horse. (He does, however, remember "some minor horse versus vehicle collisions" that ended less dramatically, and that did not necessarily occur in the upscale Rolling Hills Estates area.)
According to the CHP's preliminary investigation, a horse that had escaped from a nearby stable darted out in front of Koyama's two-door sports car -- a 2003 Mercedes-Benz 500 series that was heading south in the No. 2 lane.
A horse trail runs right across Crenshaw near where the accident happened:
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Although CBS2 reported that the horse was euthanized at the scene, Officer Tye believes the crash "caused immediate fatal injuries to the horse."
He added that the CHP is "unsure of the driver's speed at this time."
A man with the name Ryan Y. Koyama is listed as a former L.A. County optometrist whose offices were based in Gardena. (However, according to the woman at the front desk, Koyama packed up his practice "six to 10 years ago" and was replaced by optometrist Jerry S. Wake.)
Koyama also appears to have been a charter member of the Asian American Optometric Society.
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"Anytime someone is injured or killed, the intensity of our investigation goes up," says Officer Tye. So detectives will look into details like "how the horse got loose and who was looking after it."
However, at this stage, the CHP does not suspect any criminal wrongdoing. If none is found, any action taken against the horse's keeper(s) will have to be civil.