Linda O’Leary says she was snapping pictures of her grandkids feeding the horses at the Glenview Park District’s Wagner Farm last year when a chestnut-colored gelding came up and chomped down on her right hand.
“I just said, ‘He’s got my hand,’ ” O’Leary, a 65-year-old Northwest Side resident, recalled Friday of the incident last September in which she lost a finger. “I could feel a sucking feeling and then a crunch, and he opened his mouth, and I pulled my hand out, and it was gone.”
The horse had bitten off her right index finger down to the first knuckle (photo), said O’Leary, who filed a personal-injury lawsuit Thursday against the Glenview Park District over the incident last Sept. 25.
O’Leary said she was attending the 2010 Wagner Farm Harvest bonfire with her family. She’d brought her 8-year-old granddaughter and 6-year-old grandson, and they met up with her brother and sister-in-law. The kids joined a crowd feeding the horses.
“I was standing away from the crowd so I could get a picture,” O’Leary said. “Suddenly, this horse just came to where I was. I backed up, and he grabbed my hand. He came out of nowhere.
“I was in disbelief. You know, I was in pain, but . . . I was, like, trying to hold back in front of my grandchildren. The pain was excruciating. The blood, of course, was horrendous.”
She was whisked away in an ambulance and her brother and sister-in-law looked after her two grandchildren.
She said she’s just glad the kids weren’t hurt.
The horse “could have taken my grandchild’s whole hand off,” she said. “Now, they don’t even want to look at a horse.”
Now, O’Leary, who is right-handed, said, “If I want to turn a key in a knob, I can’t. It’s very hard. I type, I do payroll [for a Chicago business]. You can’t touch anything with the finger because the sensation is unbelievable. It’s a burning sensation.”
Chuck Balling, executive director of the Glenview Park District, said he hasn’t had a chance to review the lawsuit and couldn’t comment.
But he did say this much about the gelding: “To my knowlege this horse hasn’t bitten anyone before this accident.”