‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ taken into custody after riding horse on Chicago expressway

Pets and Animals

CHICAGO (WGN) — A Chicago man known as the “Dreadhead Cowboy” is facing three charges after riding his horse Monday afternoon on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Police responded around 4:30 p.m. after Adam Hollingsworth, 33, was seen riding his horse, called NuNu, on the freeway.

He rode for about 30 minutes, with Illinois State Police and Chicago police following close behind, as traffic slowed to a halt. Police said they asked Hollingsworth and those with him to exit the expressway multiple times, but they initially refused.

Once he left the highway, Hollingsworth was arrested. He was charged with reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespass.

State police said another man, Darron Luster, 55, was charged with obstructing and resisting arrest. They said he refused to release the horse after Hollingsworth was arrested.

Earlier this summer, Mayor Lightfoot dubbed Hollingsworth “The Census Cowboy” in an effort to bring awareness to filling out the census.

Hollingsworth, flanked by a group of motorcyclists, rode Monday with the goal of turning more attention to the recent slayings of so many children this past summer.

“The thing is to send a message that our children are dying,” activist Mark Carter said. “That there are no resources coming to our communities.”

The group of activists are calling for the mayor and governor to fund mental health, education and social programs and development in neighborhoods they said have been neglected.

Chicago Animal Care and Control took custody of the horse.

The horse was found to have multiple injuries. Police said it was bleeding from the left hoof, its right hoof was injured and the right side of the horse’s body had sores from the saddle.

Police said Hollingsworth told them about his plan on Sept. 9 and it was denied.

Monday night, the mayor’s office issued the following statement.

“What is clear is that this stunt not only seriously endangered the horse but also the rider and all travelers on the expressway. There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way. Furthermore, the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) was on-scene arranging for the treatment of the horse which was injured as a result of this stunt and are now working to transport the animal to a temporary shelter where it can receive proper care.” 

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