Two die in horse, van accident

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By The Staff

An elderly woman and a 10-year-old girl died Tuesday evening after a minivan collided with a horse the woman was leading on Southeast County Road 55A in Dixie County, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. 

Minnie Melba Delaney, 86, of Old Town, was walking south across County Road 55A shortly after 6 p.m. while leading a horse she owned. Riding the horse was Emma Maria Mercado, 10, also of  Old Town.

A 2002 Windstar van driven by John Mash was traveling eastbound on County Road 55A. Mash did not see the horse in the lane in time to stop before the van struck them.

Delaney was pronounced dead at the scene by Dixie County EMS. Mercado was airlifted to Shands-UFHospital in critical condition, but died six hours later. 

Mash sustained minor injury in the accident. Alcohol is not considered a factor in the accident and Mash was wearing a seatbelt.

Trooper M.A. Kennard investigated the accident and the report was prepared by Cpl. Lena M. Ward.