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Sheriff's Office Investigating Cattle Collisions

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ A series of crashes Wednesday night left four cows dead and three cars heavily damaged on Highway 7 between Lawton and Duncan.

Luckily, no one in these cars was seriously injured. Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the freak accident happened after a car heading east hit two cows on the Beaver Creek Bridge. That was followed by another accident when a car heading west hit a third cow, but it didn't stop there. Believe or not, a fourth cow was killed after an SUV slammed into it.

The Comanche County Sheriff's Department said while it's not unusual for drivers to hit stray livestock, it was unusual to have a series of them so close together and just minutes apart. Oklahoma does not have an open range law, meaning livestock owners are required to keep their animals constrained within fencing at all times to keep them off the roadway. When accidents like this happen, the owners could be held responsible for any and all damage.

If livestock manage to wonder from their pastures and onto roadways causing an accident, it's their owners that stand to be ticketed. The victim in the crash can also file a civil suit against the livestock owner for damages to themselves and their vehicle.

Comanche County Undersheriff John Stowe said loose cattle on the roadway are a huge safety issue and if spotted, should be reported immediately.

"Nobody probably knew about these cattle being out, but if we know about them being on the roadway, we get out there as quickly as we can to get them back off the roadway," Stowe said. "Then, we call the owner so we don't have an accident like we did last night."

The Comanche County Dispatch Center requires cattle owners to log their animals' brands. So if they get loose, and an officer is called out, they can track down its owner quickly to come out, put the animal back onto their property and get their fence repaired.

Stowe said the best way to prevent an accident like Wednesday night's from happening again is for livestock owners to be proactive by making sure all their fences are maintained and by drivers being vigilant and calling highway patrol if they see any animals on or near the roadway.

All four cows involved in Wednesday night's accidents died. They had gotten to the road from their pasture through a creek on the south side of Highway 7.

 

 

 

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