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Drunk man on horseback leads cops on chase through Florida town, authorities say

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

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 in 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.

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 he crossed railroad tracks. Police kept their emergency lights on, but did not use sirens to avoid frightening the horse.

Cowart ignored several verbal commands to get off the horse, which after more than half an hour became exhausted. Cowart eventually jumped off and ran. He was captured a short time later.

The horse returned to Cowart’s family and is 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 held Tuesday on $7,000 bond.