One runaway cow, two fender benders snarl Annapolis traffic Police capture the animal near U.S. 50/301

earlier, accidents caused backups

May 19, 1998|By Richard Irwin and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Richard Irwin and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

A runaway cow and two fender-benders caused bumper-to-bumper traffic in the Annapolis area yesterday afternoon and last night.

State police in Annapolis said the incident with the runaway cow began about 7: 15 p.m. when the animal was spotted on U.S. 50/301 west of Interstate 97.

State and Anne Arundel County police and a county animal control officer tried to herd the cow through some woods and into the community of Heritage Harbour.

Hovering above was a state police helicopter, with the crew directing ground units pursuing the animal.

No injuries were reported, but the cow did kick a state police car, causing minor damage, police said.

During its travels, the cow wandered from lane to lane on U.S. 50/301, causing motorists to zig-zag.

It also entered woods on either side of the highway, where it disappeared before emerging again several yards ahead of pursuers.

"One motorist call us on his car phone and yelled that a cow was directly in front of his car and that it was staring at him," said Amy White, a state police communications supervisor at the Annapolis Barracks.

White was unable to resist a pun to describe the situation.

"It's jumping from one lane to the udder," she said.

About 9 p.m., county police cornered the cow on a Heritage Harbour street, where it was roped, tranquilized and loaded onto a truck for a trip back to its owner, reportedly a nearby physician.

A few hours before the cow roundup, two fender benders on the U.S. 50 bridge over the Severn River led to a five-mile afternoon rush-hour backup on the highway and snarled traffic throughout Annapolis as residents tried to get home, commuters tried to leave town and tourists tried to find a haven.

Eastbound traffic backed up to the Interstate 97 interchange on U.S. 50. Cars lined Rowe Boulevard from the U.S. 50 interchange to the downtown historic district and inched around State Circle.

The bumper-to-bumper traffic prompted the adventurous to attempt new ways to their destinations, though few succeeded. "What's going on?" became the question of the late afternoon.

State police said the two accidents, involving three passenger cars, two vans and a pickup truck, occurred on the eastbound lanes of U.S. 50 just after 4 p.m. They said they did not have details on the accidents but that no one was injured.

The vehicles involved in the accidents had been cleared from the scene by 5: 45 p.m., but the traffic jam in Annapolis continued past 7 p.m., police said.

Pub Date: 5/19/98

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