I-76 crash victim was highly ranked polo player

The man killed in a traffic crash involving a horse trailer on Interstate 76 in Milton township was a nationally ranked polo player.

Thirty-one-year old William Tankard, from Aiken, South Carolina, was considered one of polo’s elite players. He had played a match in Illinois and was traveling to East Palestine to meet up with members of the Darlington Polo Club.

Club member Michael Groubert says the lighted dirt field in Darlington, Pa. Is well known on the polo circuit.

“Players all over the country know of Darlington. We’re just a small mom and pop type polo club, so he was pretty excited to come up here,” Groubert said.

Tankard was driving a pick-up truck and pulling a trailer with his ten horses, when the state highway patrol says he swerved to pass a car and semi truck in the eastbound lane.

“He clipped the Saturn passenger car, the trailer disconnected and hit the guardrail, and the pick up truck continued forward striking the semi in the rear,” said Lt. N.J. Hendrix of the Canfield Post of the State Highway Patrol.

Three horses were ejected from the trailer and died at the scene. The other seven received immediate care at the farm of Milton township trustee Harold Campbell.

“We were the trauma center for horses for about 5 or 6 hours last night, said Campbell’s wife, Maureen.

The horses are now being cared for by Michael Groubert with help from the Lisbon Veterinary Clinic and the local Tractor Sales store.

“They still need some doctoring. It’s not like they can be thrown on a trailer and taken out. There’s some that have a few injuries that will need some time, so we’ll keep them here as long as we need to,” said Groubert.

Anyone who would like to make a donation toward the animals care can do so at the Tractor Sales Co. store.

Lt. Hendrix said the patrol is still looking into things such as the condition of the vehicle, the tires, and the speed at the time of the crash.

He said Tankard did have a cell phone. “Which the coroner’s office currently has, if we need to look at that through our investigation we’ll do that.” Hendrix said.