Where's the beef?

July 09, 1993

Maybe this long spell of heat is beginning to affect our perceptions, but strange things seem to be taking place in Carroll County.

Rod Serling, if still alive, probably could have built a gripping episode of his "Twilight Zone" around at least one mysterious incident reported this week.

During Tuesday night's terrible thunderstorm, Charles L. Orwig Jr. was driving south on Sams Creek Road near Marston Road when he ran into a cow that was standing in the road.

The accident caused about $3,000 damage to his car and apparently injured the animal, which was lying by the side of the road when Mr. Orwig left to summon help.

He notified the State Police. But when a trooper returned to the scene, the animal was gone. The officer woke up the owner of a herd that was in a field near the site to see if the bovine belonged to him.

The farmer went out to the field and checked his animals. Nope, he said, all of the cows in his small herd were accounted for and none was injured.

To be sure, there was ample evidence of an accident. Blood stained the road where the driver said he hit the animal, and about 200 yards away lay a large, fresh pile of manure. But there was no injured cow in sight.

So who is the owner of the animal and what happened to it?

As of late yesterday afternoon, no one had reported a lost cow to the authorities. One would think that somebody would notice that a half-ton of beef on the hoof was missing.

Was the cow an escapee from a cattle truck or from the stockyard down the road? Had it been wandering Carroll's byways for months, hiding in fields and escaping notice? Have aliens abducted it to get a better understanding of intelligent life on this planet?

Did the injured animal wander off and die in the woods? Did some passer-by somehow lift the carcass and bring it to a black-market butcher for a summer's worth of beef barbecue? Inquiring minds want to know.

Each question raises another one, and pretty soon asking questions becomes an obsession. But there's one consolation.

At the very least, speculating about this accident is probably more productive and certainly less aggravating than wondering when this infernal heat wave will cease.

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