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Florida police arrest alleged drunken man on horse after chase

A man was intoxicated while riding his horse as he led police on a half-hour chase through a northeast Florida town, authorities said Tuesday.

Charles Larkin Cowart, 29, was arrested Monday afternoon in the city of Bunnell, about 60 miles south of Jacksonville.

A police officer was responding to a report of "an intoxicated male riding a horse" when he turned on his emergency lights to stop traffic as Cowart crossed the street, according to the charging affidavit. Cowart said he was on his way to his grandmother's house in nearby Flagler Beach, but refused officers' order to dismount and "in an aggressive manner reared the horse back" and took off running.

Officers did not immediately chase after him, the report said, citing the public and the horse's safety. Cowart continued to ride through town, "causing a crowd of people to come out of their homes" and a train to slow down as Cowart crossed over a set of railroad tracks. Police kept their emergency lights on, but did not use their sirens to prevent the horse from being frightened and "potentially making the situation worse."

Cowart ignored several verbal commands to get off the horse, which after more half an hour, became exhausted. Cowart eventually jumped off and took off running. He was captured a short time later. The horse returned to Cowart's family and is doing fine, police said.

Cowart was booked into the Flagler County Jail on charges that included disorderly conduct, resisting arrest without violence and cruelty to animals. He was being held Tuesday on $7,000 bond.

A message was left Tuesday at a phone listing for Cowart in Bunnell, about 60 miles south of Jacksonville. It was not immediately known if he has an attorney.

Cowart was arrested for petit theft on Sept. 9 and on a DUI charge in October 2010. The disposition of those charges wasn't immediately known.

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