Local News

Loose cows snarl traffic on I-95 near Smithfield

Posted November 29, 2012

— A wreck involving three cows, a tractor-trailer and two other vehicles tied up traffic on Interstate 95 South in Johnston County for several hours Thursday night. 

Authorities closed both lanes immediately after the wreck, around 4:30 p.m., causing major traffic backups for at least 10 miles. One lane reopened around 5:45 p.m. and the scene was totally clear by 7:30 p.m.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, an elderly man driving a van south on I-95 was hauling three cows in a trailer. He had just purchased the animals from a livestock arena in Smithfield.

The man was driving under the speed limit – between 35 and 45 mph – when the trailer was struck from behind by an SUV, troopers said. After impact, both drivers lost control, and the SUV was struck by a tractor-trailer.

All three cows got loose on the highway. One was still missing as of 9:30 p.m.

Another cow was struck by the tractor-trailer, but appeared to be okay.

Two of the cows were tied to mile markers while authorities searched for the third and waited for a truck to pick them up.

The SUV driver was taken to Johnston County Medical Center in Smithfield with non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said. His name and condition were not released.

Troopers said the crash is under investigation and charges are likely.


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  • HDRider Nov 30, 2012



    Minimum Speed Limit: II. 45 MPH on interstate and primary highways with a posted speed limit ≥60 MPH.2 '20-141(c)(2)

    The last part with the numbers is the law number look it up!
    And I am anything but a Democrat! This is why trucking Co. have to get permits to move things Oversized, Overweight, or Impeding traffic to do so with waring lights and chase cars to warn people. Yes I do Have a Class A CDL and if outher would read the driving laws they might know this and this might not have happened.

  • HDRider Nov 30, 2012

    and to all those saying driving 35-45 on the interstate is illegal; HOW THEN do you explain allowing school buses on the interstate? They certainly don't go the speed limit!

    Schoolbuses do 45 that is the minnium on an interstate by nc law. The story said between 35 and 45 so thats 40+- below the state law. And yes I agreen keep buses off the interstate or up there speed. just because there is no minum speed limit posted does not mean its not in affect. Just like unlabled roads are 55 out side of city limits. Any one that does not think they can maintain a safe speed thats a good judgment call! BUT STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE IF YOU CAN NOT MAINTAIN A SAFE SPEED!!!! There is nowhere you can get to on the interstate that you can not on back roads!!!! If you are unable to drive the speed then get off the roads. Just beacuse you are not in a hurry does not mean I am not, What If I have an sick child that Needs to get to the doctor or an elderly parent that has fell at the house, you do not kn

  • ripetomatoes Nov 30, 2012

    lol...only in Johnston County.Wags

    Even though I'm a lifelong resident of Johnston County, I quickly recognized the lack of depth in this comment:)

  • Hippy_mom Nov 30, 2012

    Hugs and Scuba, I agree with your posts. The elderly gentleman has probably done this before without incident. I don't know about y'all, but when I was in drivers ed (a million years ago) we were taught to pass on the left and slower traffic belonged in the right lane. Driving on the interstate these days is a nightmare. People pass on all sides, don't use signals and give very little indication of what their intentions are (what lane or exit they're headed for) and a good many of them are on the phone or texting while zippin' in and out of traffic.

  • sunshineonmyshoulder Nov 30, 2012

    When you drive on the interstate, you have to be ready for any and all situations that may arise. You have to look out for that other driver as much as yourself...if not more sometimes. Both drivers share the responsibility here it sounds like, but unfortunatly, if you rear-end someone, you're most likely getting the ticket.

  • baldchip Nov 30, 2012

    Scubagirl-I agree- it's not safe to allow school buses on interstates. However, they are big enough to be seen well in advance.

    Such may not be the case with this caw hauling man. God bless him. He did not intend to cause any harm. I'm sure he's just used to using I-95 when he goes home. I'm sure he was thinking safety when he was doing +-40 MPH.

    We need to think before we critisize!!

  • HugsFromGB Nov 30, 2012

    Not a wise decision to take I95 when you know you can't drive the speed limit. He endangered himself, others, and the cows. The elderly man should get a ticket.

    Who cares if it was an elderly man or not who had the cows. If he is able to got to auction, purchase cows, get them on his trailer, get them home, then wake up at the crack of dawn daily to be a farmer he must be in pretty good shape for an elderly person. I give him props for his hard work. Keep it up Mister Farmer! Who the person who ran into the back of him pay attention to the road.

  • Scubagirl Nov 30, 2012

    and to all those saying driving 35-45 on the interstate is illegal; HOW THEN do you explain allowing school buses on the interstate? They certainly don't go the speed limit!

  • Scubagirl Nov 30, 2012

    "Not the eldery man's fault. The SUV driver needed to be paying attention and either slow down or move over to the left lane. People are too busy doing other things behind the wheel except driving. phaste82"

    THANK YOU!!!

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  • ripetomatoes Nov 30, 2012

    I travel I95 to and from work each day.
    I read all the speculation and complaints here and came to one conclusion.
    If you ate any beef today, thank a farmer.
    That stuff isn't grown in a grocery store.