Drunken Man on Horseback Leads Police on Chase Across Florida Town

Flagler County Sheriff's Office

A man allegedly was drunk when he rode a horse around a Florida town, disrupting traffic and making a spectacle as he led police on a low-speed chase that was caught by surveillance cameras.

Charles Larkin Cowart, 29, of Bunnell, Fla., was arrested Monday and jailed on charges including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest without violence, aggravated fleeing and eluding, petty theft and cruelty to animals, according to jail records.

Police investigating a report of a drunken man on a horse came across Cowart, who refused when officers ordered him to dismount, and "in an aggressive manner reared the horse back" and rode off, said a police affidavit quoted by The Associated Press.

"He made it into the heart of the city and was in and out of traffic," Bunnell Police Chief Jeffrey Hoffman told the Daytona Beach News-Journal on Monday. "He was causing quite a hazard. He made his way onto the railroad tracks, and we had to stop a southbound train."

Cowart's father, Chuck, caught up to his son and pulled him off the horse - whose name is Wiley Coyote - but the younger Cowart allegedly ran into a nearby wooded area. Police dogs chased him out and he was taken into custody.

"That's my son, and he's mentally depressed, and the family's behind him and we've got him where we can help him," Chuck Cowart told WJXT. "I appreciate all the help that I've had getting him where I got him."

Police didn't chase him right away out of concern for the safety of the public and the horse, although onlookers reportedly found the episode entertaining.

Some of them helped him out in small ways. WJXT-TV in Jacksonville reported that at one point Cowart's iPod ear buds stopped working and an onlooker gave him an extra set.

Charles Cowart was jailed on $7,250 bail, online records show. It was not clear Thursday whether he had made bail. A Flager County jail public information officer could not be reached after hours on Thursday.

Jail records show that Cowart was arrested and charged with petty theft earlier this month. He was also charged with DUI in October 2010.