A California Highway Patrol officer “escaped relatively unscathed” after an apparently angry cow tried to toss him into the air in a rural part of the state, officials said.
The scary moments were captured by the officer’s dash camera. CHP’s Susanville division uploaded the video to its Facebook page two days before Christmas.
“Holy cow!!” the agency captioned the Dec. 23 post, noting the footage highlights “one of the many dangers we face on a daily basis here in rural northeastern California.”
The grainy 12-second-clip begins with the cow charging at Officer Brandon Pratt, who is standing on the side of a highway. The bovine — described as a “meat locomotive” — started chasing the officer after apparently becoming fed up with his orders, according to the post.
Pratt is then seen running past his patrol vehicle onto the road and out of sight of the camera for a few moments. Seconds later, he appears back in the frame near the side of the road again. At that point, the cow is no longer following him and the officer blows out a breath in relief.
What the camera didn’t catch: the moment Pratt was apparently lifted off his feet and dealt a “glancing blow” around his right shoulder by the approximately 1-ton cow, CHP spokesperson Bruce Thuelchassaigne told the Los Angeles Times.
Pratt didn’t receive any major injuries from the frightening encounter, according to CHP officials. Colleagues told the Times it may have been because he was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time.
It’s not uncommon for officers to be dispatched to calls regarding animals escaping their enclosures near rural roads and posing a threat to passing motorists, according to the CHP Susanville division, which handles Lassen County.
“Most times, the cows behave and go back through the fence, but every once in a while, you get one that has attitude,” Thuelchassaigne told the paper.
That’s not to say other parts of the state don’t deal with bovine-related issues.
Earlier this year, a ‘good Samaritan cowboy’ helped CHP officers lasso a bull that caused traffic on the 15 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga, while in 2018, a runaway cow led officers on a slow-speed “pursuit” in the Bishop area of the Eastern Sierra.
And in a more unusual incident: around 30 cows were rounded up in a Pico Rivera neighborhood after escaping a nearby slaughterhouse back in June. One of the animals was fatally shot by a deputy after charging a family of four and knocking some of them down, authorities said.