Multiple cows killed after rollover (updated)

Published 10:52 am Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hayward – Eight cattle headed to the slaughter were killed Thursday after what started as a rollover on eastbound Interstate 90 east of Albert Lea near the Hayward Rest Area.

According to Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Jeff Westrum, one cow was killed after the 1998 Freightliner semi it was riding in rolled over, one was killed after being struck by a car in a separate crash after the rollover, and six others were shot after firefighters attempted to herd the cows in the hours that followed.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, these cattle plus eight others were ejected from the top compartment of the truck that rolled over on eastbound I-90 just after 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

Email newsletter signup

Westrum said it appears the driver of the cattle truck, Paul O. Hagen, 57, of Spring Grove, was driving eastbound down a straight piece of I-90 near mile 162 when he drove into the median, overcorrected and then rolled the semi on its side into the median, east of the I-35 exchange.

Westrum did not know what city the truck was headed to or who owned the cattle.

Hagen was not injured but will most likely be cited for a few violations, Westrum noted.

The State Patrol report stated the road was wet at the time of the crash, and fog was also causing limited visibility.

One woman in a separate car suffered from minor injuries after she was driving westbound near the crash and struck one of the cows.

Her name has not been released.

Westrum said traffic had to be temporarily stopped because of the loose cattle to prevent any further injuries, and at 6:15 a.m., he was notified that traffic was backed up through the I-90 junction a couple miles west.

Firefighters from multiple departments, including Clarks Grove, Hayward, Albert Lea Township and the city of Albert Lea, responded to herd the cattle away from the interstate and ended up herding them to the farm of Randy Eggum about 2 1/2 miles northeast of the crash, said Hayward Assistant Fire Chief Nate Eggum.

“It was so foggy we didn’t dare leave them out there,” Eggum said.

He noted it was a difficult several hours after the truck crashed that firefighters worked to herd the cattle.

“We couldn’t see them because of the fog, and they kept getting away from us,” he added. “It was hard to tell where they were, and they were spooked.”

On top of that, there was lots of snow and mud to make for even messier conditions.

The officials said the six cows that had to be shot started acting “crazy” and unruly.

Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office detective Scott Golbuff questioned whether one firefighter even almost got trampled.

Golbuff said from what he understood, the Food and Drug Administration outlaws any livestock involved in a crash — whether it survives the crash or otherwise — from begin processed for human consumption. The cattle will most likely be processed for animal consumption.