Police take four bulls by the horns

June 04, 2002|by TIM ROWLAND

All right, when did Hagerstown decide it was going to turn into San Fermin, Spain? We had our own personal running of the bulls on Wednesday when four of these bovine banditos escaped from a livestock trailer on I-70 and led police on a wild beef chase.

Something tells me that this isn't exactly what men and women have in mind when they sign up for the police academy to make our streets and communities a safer place. But when the escape occurred, the police were the ones who got the assignment. Who else are you going to call, Roast Busters?

I mean, I've heard of a police officer being described as "a real cowboy," but this is ridiculous. Who says the cops don't take any bull? Here, they had to take four.

A team from CSI (Cow Scene Investigators) was called in and began the unenviable task of trying to track down close to two tons of Ferdinand.


Two of the bulls did sort of stop to smell the flowers along the shoulder of the interstate. I don't know how they figured they were getting home - hoofing it, I guess.

One was discouraged with tranquilizer darts, but as for the other, police and highway workers had to take the bull by the horns and - no, scratch that, had to use their musclepower and ropes to haul him in.

The driver of the van said he was going about 55 to 60 mph when the bulls came rolling out. I-70 is a pretty heavily traveled highway, so you have to believe there were at least two or three cars behind him when it happened.

Talk about something they don't prepare you for in driver's education class.

"All right kids, today we're going to talk about what to do if you're driving down the interstate at 65 mph and suddenly you have a herd of cattle coming at you."

(Incidentally, I can assure you there is no truth to the rumor that when it heard of the incident, the White House issued a warning that the next avenue of terrorist attack might come in the form of an Interstate highway Black Angus swamping. As I understand it, al-Qaida has the hormone technology, but not the delivery capability).

As we speak, some poor driver is probably trying to describe what he saw to his wife, whose response will be "OK, let me get this straight - you had how many beers before you came home?"

Anyway, after a brief scuffle, police were able to take another of the animals into custody, where he was booked on one count of being a bull. Although he was still probably moving faster than most of the people I seem to get behind in the passing lane.

The fourth bull, the Vasco da Gama of the bunch, decided to embark on a world tour. He sauntered past a class of South Hagerstown High School art students that was out for drawing practice, then continued north up Downsville Road and Maryland Avenue.

He wound up on a front porch on Spruce Street, where apparently he was found by police who dropped by to shoot the bull.

The bull was plugged with a couple of tranquilizer darts, but apparently they had about as much effect as a Tylenol PM would have on a blue whale.

I suppose somebody should have waved a red flag in front of the police to warn them that sedatives don't always work on determined beasts. He ambled through several flower beds and landscapings (explain THAT to the insurance adjuster) before finally surrendering more or less peacefully to the authorities.

It took four hours, but everything worked out OK: No one was hurt and no cars or bulls hit. So to the police, highway crews, Review and Herald Publishing staff and all the other Hamburger Helpers out there, the community says thank you very much. Moo.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or you can e-mail him at

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