According to a police report from the Hardy Police Department, an 18-wheeler hauling the cattle to Kansas overturned Feb. 23. The truck, driven by Harry Drake, of Yates Center, Kans., was owned by RR Ranch Trucking, LLC, of Yates. The accident freed the cattle, allowing them to roam through the streets of Hardy, in a stampede of sorts. Steve Garner, a volunteer with the Hardy Fire Department, worked through the night with numerous other volunteers and local law enforcement to help locate the cattle. Garner said the displaced cows were seen near McDonalds, at the Hardy Fire Department, and in the parking lot of a local barbecue restaurant, as well as in Loberg Park and other streets within the city. Others scattered to the wooded areas around Hardy, making them hard to locate despite the efforts of volunteers.
The northbound tractor trailer overturned on its left side as it approached Highway 63 near Hardy. 25 of the cattle that were trapped in the truck were cut out of the trailer shortly after the accident by emergency equipment. The cattle which did not escape were loaded onto a second truck at the request of the truck's owners insurance company. The truck belonging to Ash Flat Livestock Auction then took the cattle to their auction barn.
Although locating some wasn't difficult, the process of roping them and persuading them to make their way back into another confined area after the accident was a bit more problematic. Only one of the cows was killed in the accident, while most suffered minor injuries.
Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose enlisted the help of local horse trainer and cattleman Freeman Davis to assist the department with the Hardy roundup. Davis brought horses and other cowboys with ropes to help with the cattle.
By 4:30 p.m., the exhausted workers called it a day and returned on Friday to resume the search for the remaining nine cows.
An officer was posted through the night, but a driver reported nearly hitting a cow on the bypass Saturday night.
Rose said the search has been ongoing for the remaining six cattle, after two additional cows were returned on Saturday.
Three cows have been spotted north of Hardy in some very thick brush, which made it nearly impossible to get a rope around their neck. One Charolais initially seen in town has not been spotted since just after the accident. Rose seeks the public's help in locating the remaining cattle.
Anyone who sees loose cattle should contact Chief Rose at 870-710-9080.