Sunday night crashes end in cattle calamity
Amazingly, no humans were injured Sunday night when three vehicles hit four head of cattle on Highway 5 about 7 miles north of Gainesville. The cattle didn’t fare as well.
Because no drivers or passengers were injured, the Missouri State Highway Patrol officer who responded to the incident did not file a report, as is customary. An Ozark County Sheriff’s deputy was also on scene, but this week’s sheriff’s report (pages 8, 11) only shows the incident as “white 2003 GMC truck vs. cow, no injuries” and a two-vehicle traffic stop, no injuries.
However, the Times has confirmed from first responders and others that three vehicles were involved and four head of cattle were hit in the incident that began shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday on Highway 5 near County Road 113, which is south of the intersection of Highways Y and Z that lead to Noble and Romance.
MSHP spokesman Jeffery Kinder told the Times Monday that, although there was no official MSHP report, the Patrol had received information from the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department saying personnel on scene estimated as many as 20 head of cattle were on the highway at one time Sunday night. The Times could not verify who owned the cattle.
Based on phone conversations and other reports, it’s believed that after the GMC truck hit a cow on the highway, emergency personnel arrived, but they were unaware that other cattle were also on the road.
Next, a southbound Dodge passed the GMC and law enforcement vehicle with its lights flashing on the side of the road, but the Dodge vehicle’s driver thought it was someone getting a speeding ticket, according to information the Times has gathered from persons who asked not to be named. Immediately after passing the stopped vehicles, the Dodge truck collided with a bull and two cows, apparently knocking one of the cows into an unidentified northbound vehicle in the other lane. The Dodge driver told a friend, “It was like hitting a brick wall. All the air bags went off.”
It’s believed that three of the four animals were killed on impact and the fourth animal, badly injured, was put down by an emergency responder.
Ron Smith with Ron’s Recovery towing service said he towed two of the vehicles, which had major damage. The third vehicle was still drivable, he said.
Missouri Department of Transportation shed supervisor Rodney Yost said MoDOT crews removed the cattle carcasses from the roadway and highway shoulders Monday morning.