The chase for an escaped unicorn is making international headlines this week as it seems hard to imagine that a pony dressed as a unicorn could actually outwit California Highway Patrol officers. However, as CHP officers and other motorists can confirm, there was a runaway unicorn in Madera Ranchos, California, on Wednesday, and capturing it was no easy task.
The by now infamous unicorn chase began around 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon when pony Juliet had apparently enough of standing around for hours at a birthday party so parents could have a picture of their child on a unicorn, reports KTLA 5 on February 26.
“Wednesday night, Juliette, a white pony adorned with a fake horn, was posing with kids during a children’s photo shoot in Madera Ranchos, California, near Fresno. She escaped twice during the festivities, while her owner was busy taking the photos.”
Juliet’s first attempt at 2:30 p.m. to get away from all the birthday hoopla ended when her owner recaptured her and brought her back to the birthday party. At 5:30 p.m., though, after three more hours, the pony had enough and took a run for it.
“Then it escaped again from another child about 5:30 pm and ran out on to the roadways. It was seen in traffic on Avenue 12 from about Road 33 all the way to Road 35, where it was finally located in an orchard by the CHP H40 helicopter, using the heat seeking FLIR radar,” said Madera CHP PIO officer Joshua McConnel.
While on the run, the runaway unicorn pony seemed to know that dashing in and out of traffic wasn’t something CHP officers would be able to do and successfully avoided being captured for more than three hours. Whether or not Juliet was aware that motorists would be hesitant to report “a unicorn” on the run is a different question:
“Some motorists were surprised and hesitant to report the pony with the pink halter and the horn in the roadway as a unicorn, but others were quite sure they had actually seen one.”
According to Madera CHP PIO officer Joshua McConnel, the pony was very lucky and that “there were several near misses” of Juliet being hit by a car. “The unruly 500 to 600 pound pony would have also likely been injured or killed,” he commented in regard to Juliet’s successful career as a runaway unicorn.
After an almost four-hour pursuit, a CHP H40 helicopter finally detected Juliet by using the heat seeking FLIR radar. While CHP officers were dealing with the unusual reports of a unicorn running loose, Juliet was contentedly eating in an orchard pasture.
When Juliet saw another horse and a rider approaching her, Juliet was confident that she would be finally recognized as a pony and not some mythical creature and came happily running towards the horse. Juliet gladly followed the horse into a nearby pen where her owner and CHP officers were waiting for her.
“I was standing with highway patrol when the call came over the radio, and they said ‘the unicorn is in custody’,” said her owner and photographer Sandra Boss who was extremely happy that the unicorn chase had ended.