Parents of famed horse trainer Pat Parelli die in crash
While the Florida Highway Patrol did not release the names of the victims in its report, the Marion County horse community identified the deceased as Parelli’s parents and on Thursday, Pat Parelli took to Facebook to post a tribute to his parents.
“We reflect on their legacy, their energy, and the spirit that they contributed to the lives of their family,” he wrote. “My sister, myself, and the entire family appreciate your thoughts and prayers. We encourage you to take some undemanding time today to cherish those you love and appreciate in your life.”
It’s believed the couple was traveling to celebrate their son’s 67th birthday.
The fatal, two-car crash occurred just after 4 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 27 and Northwest 84th Court Near Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, according to FHP reports.
Per the accident report, a sedan driven by an 88-year-old man was stopped at the busy intersection in northwest Ocala when the driver failed to yield for a van driven by a 37-year-old Belleview man as it crossed over the eastbound lanes of U.S. Highway 27 to make a left turn.
The driver of the van, who was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital, attempted to stop before slamming into the sedan. Both vehicles caught fire after the collision.
The community took to social media to offer their condolences to Pat Parelli.
“(Jack) was the best. He spent the day with me once being mayor for the day. He wanted to give everyone at the police department a raise. They loved him,” wrote Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn.
Pat Parelli, who coined the term “Natural Horsemanship”, has training programs that focus on the study of horse behavior. Though headquartered in in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, he also has a facility in Reddick.