Wreck sets cows loose on bypass

Published 9:24 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A semi-trailer truck carrying more than 100 calves overturned on the U.S. 27/84 Bypass shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday, which set a number of them loose on the bypass and the surrounding area.

The driver of the truck told police he was traveling approximately 55 miles per hour when he felt the weight in the truck shift. The truck carrying 125 young cows headed into the median where it rolled onto its side and slid in excess of 100 yards. The truck, which was going west on the bypass, came to rest a short distance past the Shotwell Street exit of the bypass.

Eleven calves escaped onto the roadway and surrounding area from the truck’s back door that was thrown open during the wreck.

Two other vehicles crashed because of the calves being in lanes of traffic, and traffic on the bypass was detoured late into the night. The driver of the semi-trailer truck and vehicles that crashed due to the cows in the roadway were not seriously injured in the wrecks.

Bainbridge Public Safety officers, Sheriff’s deputies, the Georgia State Patrol, Department of Transportation, Emergency Medical Services and various other city employees helped with a multitude of tasks including locating the missing cows and providing traffic control.

Due to the sheer weight of the animals inside the semi-trailer truck, the calves had to be unloaded from the vehicle before it could be set upright by a wrecker.

A number of local citizens, some with trailers and some on horseback, helped late into the night to round up the cows and to transport the cows still inside the truck. There were a number of calves that died in the wreck, and their carcasses were transported to the landfill.

The GSP helicopter was called out to help search for the missing cows using technology that detects body heat.

“If it wasn’t for the people of Decatur County and Bainbridge coming to help, it would have been a disaster,” said BPS Chief Larry Funderburke. “We would like to thank all of them.”