MADRAS, Ore. – Dozens of cows were killed on Thursday night after wandering onto a highway, where they were struck by passing trucks.
Oregon State Police Trooper Clint Prevett said the herd walked onto Highway 97 north of Madras around 11:45 p.m.
During that time, five passing commercial trucks drove through the herd, striking and killing 44 cows.
Many of the cows died at the scene, although some were badly injured and had to be put down by their owner.
Two of the trucks were so badly damaged they had to be towed away. The other three had minor damage and could still be driven.
State troopers helped the owner remove the dead cattle from the road.
This stretch of road is considered open range and livestock are allowed to roam free. Troopers said it appears these cattle got through a fence meant to keep them off the highway.
State troopers and transportation officials offered the following tips for avoiding animals on rural highways:
- Be attentive at all times, especially sunset to sunrise for any potential hazard on or near the highway.
- When driving in areas that have special signs indicating the possible presence of animals/wildlife use extra caution because these signs are posted for a reason.
- Remember that the presence of any type of animal/wildlife could also mean that others are nearby.
- When you see an animal/wildlife near or on the roadway, reduce your speed and following distance and try to stay in your lane. Many serious crashes are the result of drivers swerving to avoid wildlife or other obstacles and they crash into another vehicle or lose control of their own vehicle.
- When driving any vehicle, always wear your safety belt because a collision could result in serious injuries.