17 cows and bulls have to argue in the lane on I-80 after a cattle truck crashes at Joliet

JOLIET, Illinois (CBS) — Interstate 80 was reopened near Joliet late Tuesday night, hours after a cattle truck crashed and more than a dozen cows and bulls escaped.

Illinois state police said around 3:40 p.m. troopers were responding to a crash involving a cattle truck on I-80 near Houbolt Road. Several cows and bulls ran loose in the eastern lanes.

Police said the cattle transporter first hit a Honda coupe, then drifted off the road, bumped into a disabled semi on the shoulder, threw several cows onto the highway and let loose in nearby neighborhoods.

ISP confirmed on Wednesday morning that officials had to euthanize two of the cattle due to injuries. The driver of the cattle transporter has been charged with driving under the influence and has been fined for not reducing speed and improper lane use.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reported that the livestock carrier was severely damaged in the crash, with the trailer ripped open, allowing the livestock to roam the roadway. The damaged cattle truck ended up in the median strip after the accident.

The driver of the cattle transporter suffered life-threatening injuries and was rushed to hospital. No other human injuries were reported.

About two or three dozen head of cattle were aboard the cattle truck. Several animals did not survive the crash and were thrown onto the road and central reservation.

But 17 cattle eventually blocked lanes in the lane, and some escaped into nearby woods and fields — requiring the skills of cowboys and wranglers.

Along a service road near a quarry, Robert Kalunzy was spotted deep in the woods searching for livestock.

“I heard rustling in the weeds, so I stopped,” Kaluzny said. “A car came by, ‘Hey, can you keep an eye out for them?’ And I go, ‘Look what?’ ‘The cow!'”

CBS 2’s Jermont Terry and photojournalist BJ Johnson were filming Kaluzny when one of 17 cattle ran away. They were within feet of the huge bull staring at them.

The bull eventually went back into the woods, but then more help came. A group of charros joined the quest to raise the roaming livestock.

Kaluzny was joined by those charros and bullmen—all with a mission to squabble the cattle safely.

That bull that was staring at Terry and Johnson got a lasso.

“I stayed in the back a little bit, just to watch — and those guys with their lassos, they got their hooves, and then it went down — so it was okay,” said Jacki Tuma.

Tuma was caught on the detour going through Illinois. When she stopped and saw a bull running towards her car, she said her impulse was, “I’m going to stop and get out of the way.”

All the livestock was rounded up and accounted for at the end of Tuesday.

All lanes reopened at 9:32 p.m. after being closed for nearly six hours between Houbolt Road and Larkin Avenue.

But it was a rather surreal scene for many — since real life doesn’t imitate “Rawhide” in Will County, Illinois in 2022, of course.

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