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Four Cows Die After Being Struck By Vehicles on Highway 126W east of Veneta
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Four cows died early Saturday morning after they were struck by vehicles while roaming on Highway 126W east of Veneta. Approximately two dozen cattle escaped from a nearby pasture and Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers suspect high winds during the night may have opened a gate allowing them to access the highway before some were struck.
According to Sergeant Vonn Schleicher, on February 25, 2012 at 4:12 a.m. a report was received of several cows along a two mile stretch of Highway 126W near Central Road. The cattle escaped from a pasture belonging to Bartels Packing, a meat processing business, located south of Highway 126W along Central Road. The section of highway where the cattle were spread along is narrow with water on both sides. Visibility was limited because of darkness and heavy rain/snow.
About fifteen minutes later as troopers were responding to the area, reports of four separate vehicles striking cattle were received. When troopers arrived, three cows were found dead and a fourth was later put down by a trooper because of its injuries.
Several employees from Bartels Packing came to the scene to help OSP, Lane Rural Fire Department and ODOT. The highway was closed about one hour to herd the remaining cattle, remove the dead cows, and tow away damaged vehicles. Troopers used patrol cars to form a fence and contain a group of cattle on the north side of the highway. One patrol car received minor damage from a cow trying to escape.
No other information or drivers’ names are available. No enforcement action anticipated.
The last available data provided to OSP by the ODOT Crash Analysis and Reporting Section for statewide crashes involving a stock animal (cow, bull, steer, sheep, etc …) indicates between 2005 and 2009 there were 292 reported crashes. Of those reported crashes:
  • 264 happened during the hours of darkness
  • 220 resulted in property damage to vehicles only
  • 67 resulted in injury to at least one vehicle occupant
  • Six people died in five fatal crashes involving a stock animal
No statistics available for 2010 or 2011, and no crash statistics for the section of highway where this incident occurred.