Whether the runaway steer captured Thursday evening on Old Salem Road will end up at a slaughter house in Darke County is yet to be determined. But if he has to go, he gave his owners one heck of a memory.
The animal escaped through the half-door of a trailer on eastbound Interstate 70 near Ohio 48 at about 4:15 p.m. and was captured at about 7:15 p.m., ending a three-hour odyssey that had law enforcement officers and its owners chasing it through open fields and yards all across Englewood.
Mr. Moo, as the animal is called, was being taken to slaughter in Greenville when he made a run for it, said Suzanne Luthe of Springfield, one of the bovine's owners.
She said she noticed the side half-door of the trailer was partially opened.
"When the wind pressure stopped pushing against the door, the cow pushed the door open and jumped out," she said. Traffic in both directions stopped at the sight, as Mr. Moo was on his way, taking off from the berm of the interstate and through the woods.
Ironically, the steer was supposed to be taken to slaughter on the morning of March 26 by her son, 16-year-old Charles Luthe of Springfield, 17-year-old Daniel Tittle of Medway and 15-year-old Wesley Culpepper of Huber Heights. That morning, all three Tecumseh High School students were killed when their car ran off a road in Springfield Twp. and slammed into a tree.
"I'm sure all three boys are in heaven, lying on their backs, just laughing their heads off," Suzanne Luthe said.
For the next three hours, Mr. Moo made his way through open fields and back yards in an area that includes Savina Avenue, Elru Drive, Shadywood Drive, Pineland Trail, Taywood Road and finally, Old Salem Road. Luthe and fiance Gary Osborn, troopers with the Ohio Highway Patrol and police from Clayton and Englewood were hot on his tracks.
"He thinks he's a horse," Luthe told News Center 7's Layron Livingston. "He's run with the horses and jumps fences."
At about 5:15 p.m., the trailer was moved to a cul-de-sac at the end of Elru, where the pursuers thought they could get the animal back in the trailer. Luthe, carrying a bag of food, went into the wooded area in an attempt to coax the animal with a snack.
At about 5:51 p.m., the search moved to the other end of Elru, near Shadywood.
At 6:03 p.m., a resident reported seeing the animal in a yard on Pineland Trail, west of Elru and Shadywood. "A cow is the very last thing I expected to see running down my street," said the resident, Margie Thiebert. "Dogs, cats, yes, no cows... If I have to do it myself, he will be in the freezer by next week."
At 6:44 p.m., Mr. Moo was seen on Taywood Road.
At 7:15 p.m., he was captured by Tim Manos, of Drylick Stables, part of Five Rivers MetroParks. "We needed a horse," Manos said, "but that wasn't practical with all the fences and stuff."
Thus ended the freedom romp, with Mr. Moo tied to a tree with a rope.
-- Videographer Jim Noelker contributed to the reporing of this story.