Durham County

One cow, four cars – vehicle pileup on a mountian highway

The nose of a black cow.
The nose of a black cow. Courtesy of the Tri-City Herald

A cow in the road caused a four car smashup.

The 750-pound black cow did not survive – the only casualty.

The cow escaped its home's fencing on a farm and fled into the roadway near the intersection of NC Highway 280 and Ray Hill Road in Henderson County in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The state highway runs adjunct to the Nantahala National Forest south of Asheville.

“It was dark out and it was raining,” said N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper John Prescott.

Viability was low. A driver headed westbound down the highway saw the livestock too late, Prescott said.

The westbound car hit the cow around 4:30 a.m. The force of impact whirled the animal across the road markings into the eastbound lane.

An eastbound car promptly hit the cow knocking its body back toward the center of the road.

The driver of an approaching Jeep Cherokee saw something was amiss up ahead and approached the scene of mishap with caution, Prescott said.

But, the driver did not see the dying cow, lying on the pavement and obstructing their driven path.

The Cherokee ran over the top of the beast's flank, flipped onto its on side and skid for approximately 200 feet, Prescott relayed. The sliding metal scrapping against asphalt generated a flurry of sparks.

The Jeep's driver told Prescott, they were startled by the sparks and concerned over the possibility of a fire flaring into an explosion.

Prescott said once the Jeep came to a rest on its side, the driver “bailed out through the sunroof and ran over to” where the other two, already-crashed drivers stood on the highway shoulder.

A fourth vehicle did not noticed the overturned Jeep and smashed into the Cherokee's hood, Prescott said.

The cow succumbed to injures sustained.

Traffic halted for several hours.

The only human injured was a passenger who rode in the fourth car to crash. They suffered a minor cut.

But, the roadway has since been reopened.

The creature passed-away before Prescott reached the collision.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks