Motorists on Interstate 82 near Prosser probably were shocked to see cowboys on horses rounding up cattle along the highway Wednesday.
The cows were running loose after a cattle truck drifted off I-82 two miles east of Prosser just before 9 a.m. and flipped on its side, the Washington State Patrol said.
Troopers said several animals had to be euthanized. At least two were killed in the wreck and the general manager of El Oro Cattle Feeders of Moses Lake said he expected to lose at least seven cows because of the accident and from injuries connected to rounding them up.
"In this situation, as you can imagine, there's some trauma," said Roy Reyer, the general manager. "We had to cut the roof open on the trailer and get the cattle out."
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One westbound lane of the highway was blocked for several hours while the escaped cows were gathered up.
Then, two hours after the wreck, a Benton County sheriff's deputy was rear-ended as she drove slowly through the crash scene.
The deputy was coming to help troopers with the collision when she was hit near Gibbon Road, sheriff's Lt. Chuck Jones said. Jones said the deputy appeared to be OK.
Deputy Alison Moore, 43, was taken by car to PMH Medical Center in Prosser to be checked out, troopers said.
Her 2011 Ford Crown Victoria patrol car still could be driven.
Kenneth E. Sparks, 66, of Kelso, was driving the 2005 Dodge Dakota that rear-ended the deputy. He was not hurt, but was cited for failing to yield, troopers said.
The driver of the cattle truck, David Mosebar, 44, of Moses Lake, was expected to be cited for driving with wheels off the roadway.
Mosebar was contracted to haul the cattle to a plant to be slaughtered. But, the meat from the cows killed in the wreck can't be sold.
Reyer said it was difficult to try to corral the cows because they had to set up makeshift panels to try to direct the cattle into the back of the trailer.
"Unfortunately we had a couple that came out fast and ran a few of us over and got along the interstate," he said. "We had people on horses there to be able to get in front of them to cut them off and drive them back into the orchard where we have some more that we need to gather."
Reyer said it's just like rounding them up in a pasture, except they were doing it along the highway and the cattle were wound up with their adrenaline high when they came out of the wrecked trailer.
"Typically we unload them out of the back of a chute and the animals just walk right off the truck," he said. "It's a very quiet and calm process. ... Here we try to hopefully calmly get them into a trailer, keeping the safety of the animals and the people ... in mind the entire time."