Authorities in central Iowa believe a fatal car crash Tuesday involved a horse. Polk County Sheriff’s deputies say the crash happened early Tuesday morning north of Bondurant.

The driver of the car, 53-year-old Kendall Johnson of Rhodes, was killed. The crash wasn’t discovered until Tuesday evening after family members reported Johnson had left for work that morning, but had not been seen since. Investigators were initially confused by the excessive amount of damage to the car, given that it left the road and traveled about 40 yards before coming to rest at the base of a tree.

Then, deputies found a deceased horse in the ditch. Investigators believe Johnson’s car struck the horse, which caused his vehicle to leave the roadway.