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Charging bull flipped Alachua Co. sheriff's sergeant in I-75 weekend melee

The bull struggled out of the top of a wrecked trailer full of cattle and fell 12 feet, landing on its back.

















“He hit the ground and
came up not in a good mood,” Alachua County Sheriff's Office Sgt.
Richard LaLonde recalled on Monday. “When I saw that I thought, ‘This
ain't good.' ”A trailer
hauling 32 bulls around noon Saturday had just blown a tire while
heading south on Interstate 75 near Newberry Road and barreled through a
fence and trees.LaLonde ran to the highway to direct traffic, fearing the angry animal might charge some cars.

Another
deputy arrived with sirens blaring, and LaLonde made a cutting motion
across his neck, signaling the deputy to turn off the noise to avoid
further agitating the angry bull.LaLonde
barely noticed someone shouting at him from a distance. “You know when
someone's yelling your name and you know it's not good?” Lalonde said.He looked left and saw the bull lowering its head, charging straight at him. He barely had time to react.

“All
I could do was protect my vitals for the hit,” he said. About 1,000
pounds of angry beef crashed into him, and LaLonde went airborne.“I got handled,” he said. “That bull took my lunch money.”

***After
a tire blew out on the 1997 Freightliner tractor trailer headed to
Indiantown, traffic on the highway stopped while responders dealt with
the cleanup. No other cars were involved, but the driver and passenger
of the semi were injured, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.A few bulls escaped and were captured, and one -- the animal that hit LaLonde -- was shot and killed.

Traffic was slowed considerably for the six hours it took to clear the road.

Large
animal vet Eric Hiers, who responded to the scene, said all the bulls
were uncastrated males and he believed the truck was moving them for
breeding purposes.The trees sheared the double-decker rolling pen and it looked like the side was torn off a soda can, LaLonde said.

Hiers said the bulls stared at the ground with nothing separating them from it.

“Bulls
are generally more docile than cows but if you get them together they
get aggressive toward each other,” Hiers said. Add the accident into the
mix, he said, and you had a potentially ugly situation.Despite this, some of the bulls took the opportunity to nibble on the trees.

“I
remember seeing the ones on the upper deck stretching their necks and
eating the pine needles and oak tree leaves,” he said. “They had more
than enough opportunity to jump out.”More law enforcement officers arrived and formed a corral with their cars, a half moon to keep the bulls away from the road.

LaLonde
described the now partially open pen as a busy hallway. That's when the
angry bull got pushed out and landed on his back.***“When you're in the air during a critical incident,” LaLonde said, “you're looking at dying, and time slows down.”

He didn't have much time to think, but he said a few things went though his head when he was catapulted.

He
remembers how the animal's fur felt soft against his elbow. He was
expecting coarseness. He was struck on the left side of his body --
around his hip.The bull didn't have horns to
gore him, but LaLonde remembers thinking the animal's feet were huge,
and that when he landed he had better get away quick. He was at least
higher in the air than the bull was tall.He hit the ground on his right side, bruising some ribs and a knee.

Another
deputy distracted the bull while LaLonde took a personal inventory. He
moved all his parts to make sure they still worked, then he got back to
work.“If you can stand up
that's a good sign,” he said. “You make sure everything's in one piece,
you brush yourself off and move on.”The bull went out into the highway and responders were forced to shoot it for the safety of drivers on the road.

Deputies
coordinated the efforts of officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission, the Florida Park Service and the FHP.Police directed some semis to form a wall. The ASO rural deputy responded and called local rancher Danny Lane to help.

Two more bulls got out the top of the truck, and Lane, on horseback, helped to lasso them and bring them back.

Lane said his main worry was keeping his horse under him while walking on the slick I-75 asphalt.

Hiers
shot another bull with a tranquilizer dart after it almost went into a
nearby trailer park. The responders built a makeshift fence and herded
the animals into trailers to continue their journey. The highway was
back to normal around 6 p.m.Looking
back, LaLonde said the cooperation between everyone who pitched in to
help was the key to successfully dealing with the incident. He didn't
notice he was hurt, he said, until about two hours after all his
adrenaline wore off.He said he regrets the bull had to be shot but stressed the necessity of it to protect the people around the crash site.

“There's
no one there happy that the bull got shot,” he said. “We were trying to
prevent loss of life not only on our own part but the life of the
animals as well.”

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Added: Jan-8-2013 
By: 3v1ld34d
In:
Other News, WTF, Other Entertainment
Tags: police, cops, sheriff, alachua, gainsville, bull, attack
Location: Alachua, Florida, United States (load item map)
Marked as: featured
Views: 39562 | Comments: 216 | Votes: 2 | Favorites: 3 | Shared: 165 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 4
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