Holy cow! Loose animal hoofs it down Randall Road in Elgin before police make bovine bust
There was a lot at stake (or would that be steak?) when Elgin police Lt. Jim Roscher got a call about a cow loose Tuesday on Randall Road.
The wayward bovine got free from a trailer on Randall north of Hopps Road and was first reported to police as it walked between cars about 11:30 a.m. in the northbound lanes on Randall near Walmart.
"It was backing up traffic because no one wanted to drive around it," Roscher said. "Then we heard it was by the car wash, then it went northbound, then southbound. It was everywhere."
Roscher, who was called to bring out a tranquilizer dart rifle, said the owner at one point was able to grab the animal by a six-foot-long rope connected to a halter it was wearing.
"It just knocked him around a little bit, and he took off again," Roscher said.
The gender of the animal is up for debate, but Roscher believes it was a bull because you couldn't see any udders.
The maybe-bull wandered south down to Hopps and then east to McLean, where it turned south again, ending up in a field on the west side of McLean near North Lancaster Road.
Roscher was met there by a trio of officers from South Elgin, an Elgin animal control officer and the animal's owner.
There was a snow fence in the field, and Roscher said they used that and his squad vehicle to try to keep the animal in the field.
"We were worried about the bull's safety but also the cars," he said. "They hit a 1,000-pound bull, there's going to be some damage."
Though he did have the tranquilizer rifle and darts, they were reluctant to use it. First off, they weren't sure they had anything strong enough to do the job.
"Plus, once you do that, then you are stuck because you can't move the thing," he said.
So they went old school. Sort of.
The owner had a lasso rope. They tied one end of the rope to the tow hitch on the back of Roscher's Ford Expedition squad vehicle. The animal control officer held the lasso end out the rear driver's-side window while Roscher drove around, trying to corral the bovine. Just like the cowboys would have done it, sans the SUV.
They eventually got the lasso around the animal's neck safely after chasing it around a bit, Roscher said.
"We wrangled it like Yellowstone cowboys," South Elgin officer Jennifer Miklitsch said.
It did not enjoy the turn of events.
"It started bucking," he said. "It was hilarious."
The bull bucked his way around the vehicle, eventually ending up on the passenger's side where it bumped the door.
"I went to check for damage, but there was only some snot and mud," Roscher said. "He was pretty riled up, and he was snotting all over the place."
Once it calmed down, they drove slowly toward the trailer. When they were close enough, they untied the rope from the back of the squad and fed it through a hole in the trailer so they could pull him in.
"We pulled for a little bit, and the bull jumped back in the trailer," he said. "We slammed the door, and all was good."
It turns out there is no official police radio call for something like this.
"We just called out, 'Cow is secure,'" he said. That was at 1:22 p.m.
"That bull kept us occupied for almost two hours," he said.
Roscher said it was the weirdest nonhuman call of his career.
"I've been doing this for 26 years, so I've got lots of stories, but it's the first time I ever had to chase a bull around," he said.
The unnamed bull quickly became a local online celebrity with myriad social media posts from people who saw him on his adventure.
Village of South Elgin communications specialist Craig Pierce said a photo and post about the bovine had more than 32,500 views and about 1,500 "likes" as of Friday morning.
"It's by a landslide the most popular post we've ever had," Pierce said. "Anytime we need to get attention regarding standard municipal matters, I'm just going to make sure there's a cute cow in the graphic."