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Owner of Horse Struck and Killed by Car Files Lawsuit

Nicole Saathoff is suing the heirs of the driver, who was also killed in the collision, and the owner of the stable from which the horse got loose.

The Rolling Hills Estate site of the accident. Patch photo credit: Nicole Mooradian.
The Rolling Hills Estate site of the accident. Patch photo credit: Nicole Mooradian.

A horse owner is suing the estate of a 69-year-old optometrist and a Rolling Hills Estates riding club over the death of her animal, which was struck by the optometrist's car after wandering from its stable and onto a highway.

Nicole Saathoff filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the heirs of Ryan Yonny Koyama, who also died from injuries suffered in the crash. The suit also names the Seahorse Riding Club and its co-owners, Devon Gibson -- who is also a horse trainer -- and David and Allison Hill.

Saathoff is seeking $65,000. A club representative could not be immediately reached.

Koyama's Mercedes hit the plaintiff's horse, Lucerne, near the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive North and Crenshaw Boulevard in Rolling Hills Estates about 2 a.m. Sept. 18, 2012, according to the lawsuit.

The California Highway Patrol reported at the time that the horse had left a stable and was running in traffic when Koyama's car hit the animal.

Koyama's car subsequently hit a fence. He was taken to Torrance Memorial Medical Center in critical condition and later died, according to the CHP.

The horse was euthanized at the scene.

Koyama was born in the Gila River War Relocation Center, an internment camp built near Phoenix to house Japanese-Americans during World War II, according to a published obituary.

--City News Service

Noel Park January 31, 2014 at 03:08 PM
How sad. My heart goes out to the family of Dr. Koyama. Maybe they will counter sue.
carol January 31, 2014 at 03:17 PM
How can the horse owner blame the deceased driver when the horse had wandered onto the highway, clearly the car driver was where he was supposed to be and the horse was not?
wahine January 31, 2014 at 03:28 PM
shameful. such an insult to the Koyama family still grieving for an innocent life taken away far too early.
Jo Boehm January 31, 2014 at 06:02 PM
I feel sorry for all involved but the horse would not have gotten lose if the fence had not been hit which let the horse out. $65K will probably be just enough to replace the horse. It is not outrageous.
Carol January 31, 2014 at 06:50 PM
Isn't the stable responsible for the broken fence? Why sue Dr. Koyama's family? Wasn't the horse on Crenshaw when it caused the death of Dr. Koyama?
robin January 31, 2014 at 07:01 PM
Didn't the horse kick it's way out of the stables and wonder out in the street? Also, wasn't the driver intoxicated at the time of the accident?
Jo Boehm January 31, 2014 at 07:16 PM
Now that I have re-read the article I realize that this article was poorly written with not sufficient information to make a judgment. So my comments and those of others are not based on facts.
Carol February 01, 2014 at 04:40 PM
The CHP report at the time of the accident stated the horse was running in the traffic lanes. The fence was hit when the driver lost control of his car.
laxlady2000 February 02, 2014 at 03:16 AM
Reading this makes me so angry that they would sue Dr. Koyama's family. I'd like to know on what basis they're suing. Its like suing a driver who hits someone's pet dog that escapes. Makes no sense.
Ronald Ferreira February 05, 2014 at 11:33 PM
speed kills
Kelly Young February 06, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Nicole Saathoff is a greedy terrible person. Her horse killed a man on a road that I drive often. By suing the grieving heirs, she is creating bad karma that will come back around to bite her.

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