“I don’t give a damn about the go-kart, but we would like to know what happened,” said Heather Pastorini, whose horse Sweetheart died Thanksgiving weekend. “We can replace the go-kart but we can’t replace a member of our family. We are grief-stricken.”
Sometime in the early morning hours of Nov. 27, thieves cut the locks of the Pastorinis’ horse stable and storage property on Highway 4 across from Regatta Drive and stole the family’s go-kart, valued at $800. Obviously eager to leave the scene, the robbers left the gates – where seven other horses were also boarded – open, and it’s believed that Sweetheart and another horse escaped.
According to Heather, the Pastorinis’ ranch mates who share the property went to the stables on Saturday morning and saw that the gates were open and the go-kart gone.
“Our ranch mate showed up Saturday morning and noticed that the locks had been cut and that one of their horses – Amber – was limping,” said Pastorini. “So he quickly did a head count and noticed that my horse was missing.
Calls to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) confirmed that a horse was struck and killed by a car on Highway 4 that evening, and Pastorini said that conversations with neighbors who happened on the scene that evening and CHP officers leads her to believe that a first car struck Sweetheart and drove away. Shortly after that, it’s believed that another car struck the horse that was already down and most likely mortally wounded. But from that point, the details are sketchy.
“I can’t confirm it,” said Pastorini, “but someone at the scene that night said that a second car hit Sweetheart when she was down in the road and flipped the car, and that the driver of the first car contacted the CHP the next morning saying that they thought they may have hit a horse. I don’t hold anything against anyone who might have been involved in the accident; in fact, my heart breaks for them. I can only imagine how horrible it was for them. I would just love to know if anyone had any information to help solve the other part of the issue.”
The CHP accident report has not yet been released, but Dan Barrett, deputy director for Contra Costa County Animal Services, who was on the scene, described the incident.
“We got a call that came in from the CHP at 2:20 a.m. that a horse had been hit by a car and was dead in the roadway,” said Barrett. “We went out there and took pictures for the owners to identify and then removed the remains. It was very sad, but things like this happen more than you think, and it’s a big concern, especially with an animal that size.”
The Pastorinis, longtime residents of Discovery Bay, are no strangers to crime. On Christmas Eve three years ago, their home was robbed. Arriving home from a holiday outing, they found the front door open and their dog in the yard. The thieves had torn open gifts under the tree, taking only what they wanted, and made off with thousands of dollars worth of electronics, including computers and portable game systems. One of the intruders even urinated on a nativity scene under the family Christmas tree.
Now, with the recent theft and subsequent loss of their beloved horse, the family is once again rethinking how they live. “We had to change the way we lived after the robbery (in 2007) and now we have to change that again,” said Pastorini. “We’ve had our home robbed, two vehicles stolen and now this – it’s all very painful.”
There is, however, one piece of good news stemming from the tragedy. Pastorini has learned that the horse that was also injured in the accident will be all right.
“Amber was clipped on her hind quarters but made it back to the stable,” said Pastorini. “It looks like she is going be OK. That was a bright spot this week.”
And as the Pastorinis work through their loss, they remain hopeful that information will surface from someone who saw what happened or has since spotted the go-kart.
“It’s likely that whoever stole the go-kart likely travels that stretch of road regularly, or may have seen it there before,” said Pastorini. “Any information at all means we could finally find out what happened and who might be responsible for the theft and the negligence.
“I’m sad for us and I’m sad for Discovery Bay. But for now I’m just trying to celebrate the time we had together. She was my baby.”
Those with information on the incident should call 408-515-1339.