With license suspended, man rides horse to make court date
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By Chris Lusvardi
(Decatur) Herald and Review
DECATUR — After missing a series of court appearances in Decatur, a downstate Normal man came up with an old-fashioned way to make sure he was there Thursday for his latest one: He rode a horse.
Ronald Blalock II came on horseback from LeRoy to arrive with plenty of time to spare for a morning hearing at the Macon County Courts Facility.
The horse waited outside on the lawn while Blalock, 38, went inside for a bail hearing on charges of driving on a suspended driver’s license.
Blalock didn’t think he would receive a welcome reception while in Decatur with the horse, which is named Rooster, based on a character in a John Wayne movie. But he said everyone he encountered, from security officers to the judge and assistant state’s attorney, was friendly.
“I thought I’d be in trouble,” Blalock said. “Now, I know they won’t be so hard if you show up.”
With family living out of state and friends at work, Blalock didn’t have anyone who could drive him to Decatur. Blalock, who has worked as a truck driver, has been without his driver’s license for nearly four months, he said.
So he decided to make the trip from a farm near LeRoy with Rooster, who only has one good eye. They set out around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, arriving in Forsyth about 9:45 p.m. for a stop at McDonald’s and to rest overnight.
They encountered heavy rain and lightning on the way. Blalock brought a sack with supplies to protect them from the elements, but he still got wet while pitching a tarp. The Tennessee Walking Horse didn’t seem to mind, though, as Blalock said Rooster lay on the ground, tired from the long walk.
Making it through the night and remaining determined to resolve his legal matters, Blalock left Forsyth around 6 a.m. Thursday and walked alongside the horse through town, thinking he needed to be at the courthouse by 8:30 a.m. He was early. The hearing wasn’t supposed to happen until 10 a.m., but it was able to proceed ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, Rooster was drawing attention while tied to a tree on the lawn outside and enjoying a shady spot to munch on grass and weeds. Curious courthouse staffers and visitors entering the building took photos.
Michael Tarczan, an investigator with the Macon County Public Defender’s Office, watched from his office window. Tarczan told him that the innovative approach to appearing for a court date should be an inspiration to others.
“It can be a lesson,” Tarczan said. “Some guys can’t seem to make it, and they live two blocks away.”
Blalock decided to do what was necessary as he tries to get his driver’s license back. He still needs to take care of issues in McLean County before he will be able to do so, but he was relieved to have the matter resolved in Macon County.
Blalock was ordered to pay a fine, plus court costs, and the case was closed.
Blalock didn’t mind spending the time with Rooster.
“I trust my horse,” Blalock said. “He’s a good, old horse. This is like a big dog, my friend.”