Witness: 'Raining cows' after cattle truck overturned

May 23, 2011 (HAZEL CREST, Ill.)

It happened Sunday at Interstate 80 and Interstate 294 when a truck full of cattle overturned.

The cows were headed to slaughter when 16 of them met their destiny a few days early. One died after charging police who opened fire. Others fell off the overpass onto the highway below, where a driver tells ABC7, it looked like it was "raining cows."

"It kept coming down," said Kevin Willis, whose car was hit by falling cows: "I'm like, 'Oh, my God!' and I'm trying to get over, trying to get over and the more I got over, the more the cows came down."

As cows dropped from the overturned cattle truck on the overpass above, all Willis could do was close his eyes and hit the brakes.

"The trailer itself was tipping over and dropping these cows out, and the trailer itself was still moving, so it was dropping 'em off from left to right off the freeway so they covered the whole freeway," Willis said.

Willis finally stopped and ran from his car.

Minutes later, emergency crews and tow trucks arrived to find a bull on the loose, injured and mad.

"When the bull came out of the back of the trailer I went running, and I jumped up there and climbed all the way on the top of the anchor because he ain't gonna get up there," said Josh Lyons.

"Soon as I seen the head of the cow out of there, I turned around and ran. So did everyone else and the boss man was a little too slow," said Wayne Freeman.

"Boss man" is Airline Towing and Recovery's J.R. Bramlett. He has 15 stitches and several broken fingers he earned while trying get out of the way.

Bramlett said the charging cow looked him right in the eye.

"Right in the eye. Both eyes, dead center. And then I realized I had that shirt on, and it was flapping 'cause the wind was blowing. I felt like I was in the rodeo doing the bull," Bramlett said.

Twenty-two-cows survived the crash and were taken to a Peotone farm.

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