Three people escaped injury Saturday night when their car struck a cow on Route 17 in Readfield, police said.

“I would say the passengers are very lucky not to be injured,” said Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon. “That is a big animal to hit and not be injured.”

Reardon said the 2003 Ford sedan driven by William Ervin, 25, of Readfield, was eastbound on Main Street, Route 17, when the accident happened shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday.

The cow is owned by Edward Munson of Winthrop, who has twice been taken to court by the town of Readfield over cows wandering into the road.

Under a settlement in the most recent lawsuit, Munson agreed to pay a $2,000 fine and $500 for time the animal control officer spent rounding up the livestock.

“This is the kind of accident we’ve predicted and dreaded for several years,” said Readfield Town Manager Stefan Pakulski in an email. “After a quiet winter, Munson’s cattle have escaped repeatedly again this spring and it was only a question of when a cow-vehicle accident would happen. The town will take whatever steps it can within the existing animal trespass law, but, of course, this is limited.”

On Tuesday, Munson said, “I’m glad nobody got hurt.”

He said the cow died in the accident.

The crash was reported at 11:07 p.m. on Main Street near the intersection of the Stanley Road.

“The cow entered the roadway and the vehicle could not stop quick enough,” Reardon said Tuesday. “The cow was injured and partially in the roadway and partially in the ditch.”

Ervin and his two passengers, Erik Ogren, 22, and Cory Palmer, 23, reported no injuries. The car, which sustained significant front-end damage, was towed from the scene.

Kennebec Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Chilton investigated the crash, and Reardon said it is possible the cow’s owner could be cited.

“We’ve notified the state Department of Agriculture that this happened,” said Pakulski. “We still fear another accident call will come with much worse results.”

Records kept by Karen Peterson, Readfield’s animal control officer, show that cows were reported out of Munson’s pasture six times between April 26 and Saturday’s accident.

Betty Adams — 621-5631 |

[email protected] | Twitter: @betadams