(Kingsbury, IN) - About 75 cows escaped from a La Porte County dairy farm and galloped several miles on two major highways before corralled. Fortunately, there were no motor vehicle collisions thanks to the efforts of La Porte County Police Capt. Derek Allen.
Allen said he was off-duty Saturday afternoon in his "take home" Police cruiser when he came across the eye popping site of a stampede, traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S 35 at Kingsbury. “They were in the roadway coming right at me. They were at a full gallop,” he said.
In response, Allen said he did a U-turn and cut across the four lane highway to get in front of the herd, which was running in unison at about 15 miles per hour. Allen remained in front of the cows to warn oncoming motorists about the stampede once the farm animals started heading eastbound on U.S. 6.
He said drivers safely pulled over and whipped out cell phones to record what looked like an old fashioned cattle drive without cowboys. “I activated my emergency lights to make sure the oncoming motorists aware there was an emergency on the roadway. The oncoming motorists were very gracious and stopped along the roadway once they saw what was traveling directly behind me,” Allen said.
One of the videotaping drivers was Drew Renz heading home to Kingsford Heights from La Porte. At first, Renz thought his eyes were playing tricks on him as the procession of cows turned from 500 South to U.S. 35. “I was in disbelief seeing the enormous herd freely running down the highway,” he said. Renz caught up to the cows from behind and recorded while passing them in the opposite lanes of the four lane highway.
The video, posted on Facebook, racked up more than 60,000 views (see the Facebook video here). “I knew I needed evidence of what I’d seen or my wife wouldn’t believe me,” he said.
Allen said was still driving ahead of the cows when he alerted the owners who had no idea the animals escaped. A small group of the cows were corralled in a fenced area near U.S. 6 and 700 South. The remaining cows galloped for another mile until rounded up in a field in the area of 800 South and Range Road.
With assistance from the owners, volunteer firefighters, and other individuals, Sheriff’s deputies had the cows on their way back home about one hour later.
Allen said the cows were pretty exhausted after their sprint. “You could tell they started to wear down after a bit. That’s a long track. They ran over three miles,” he said.