ST. GEORGE — A mother and her 5-year-old daughter escaped serious injury after hitting a cow at full speed on Interstate 15 just before sunrise on Sunday.
At 5:45 a.m., emergency personnel responded to a single-vehicle crash on northbound I-15 near mile marker 8, just north of Littlefield, Arizona.
Upon arrival, they found a Jeep in the median that was severely damaged and a tow truck nearby, Arizona Highway Patrol trooper Tom Callister said.
Troopers also found a large black cow located in the median several yards south of the vehicle, which was dead at the scene.
The driver told troopers she was traveling north and “never saw the cow,” Callister said. After striking the animal, she wasn’t sure what she had hit.
“She said it felt like she hit a wall,” he said.
The cow was struck by the front, right side of the Jeep and was flipped up toward the windshield and hurled to the left where it landed in the median. The vehicle continued north for several yards and skidded to the right as it reached the bridge, crashing into the cable barrier.
“The Jeep went through two collisions — first with the cow and then the bridge barrier. That vehicle was destroyed,” Callister said.
Both occupants were able to get out of the vehicle on their own and make it over to the median and out of the way of traffic. The driver suffered minor injuries while her daughter, who was secured in a booster seat behind the driver, was uninjured in the crash.
Immediately after the collision, the woman, fearing for their safety, called a tow truck which was the first to arrive on scene. The tow truck operator had already pulled the Jeep away from the barrier and into the median when troopers arrived.
“That driver was going to do whatever she had to do to get the SUV out of the roadway and keep her daughter safe,” Callister said.
Callister also said the accident is “a testament to the damage that can follow when a 1,200 (pound) animal collides with a vehicle.”
Both occupants were properly secured at the time of the incident.
An Arizona Department of Transportation crew also responded and removed the deceased animal from the median.
Once the Jeep was loaded onto the wrecker, it was towed from the scene while the driver and the child were driven to Mesquite by police to be picked up by relatives.
The early-morning crash had little impact on traffic and the driver was not cited for the incident. The Arizona Department of Public Safety, Beaver Dam/Littefield Fire and Rescue, and ADOT responded to the scene.
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