WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s not just art enthusiasts who noticed the Deborah Butterfield bronze horse sculpture outside Purdue’s Yue-Kong Pao Hall. It was hard for drivers to ignore the sculpture at Wood and Sheetz streets.
“I’ve seen people mention that,” Purdue Galleries Director Craig Martin said. “They say ‘Oh I walk by that every morning. I can’t believe it’s gone.'”
West Lafayette police said the sculpture is gone because of an alleged drunk driver. Lt. Troy Harris said police received a call from Harry’s Chocolate Shop Thursday morning about an unruly customer.
“The doorman, an employee of the Chocolate Shop, called the police,” Harris said. “By the time we got there they had left. That subject had actually gotten into a vehicle.”
The driver started driving the wrong way down Wood Street for several blocks before hitting the eight-foot and nearly 2,000-pound horse sculpture. Now, just a fence replaces it.
“It looked like it had just fallen over when I first took a look,” Martin said. “There were some grill parts from the car and some pieces of the thing that had broken off.”
Harris said the driver Adam Salyer was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and has since been released. He was cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. His passenger, Michael Schlosser, who was the subject of the original call from Harry’s Chocolate Shop, was found wandering away from the scene by Purdue police and arrested for public intoxication.
Martin said he is hopeful the iconic sculpture will be back.
“We were really lucky, we are really lucky. I’m going to talk in the hope that it will return, because [Butterfield] is a well renowned sculptor, and it’s a beautiful piece,” Martin said.
Martin has yet to find out how much it will cost to repair the sculpture. In 2009, it cost more than $331,000 to commission and install.