AUGUSTA — Three cows belonging to a Hallowell resident escaped their enclosure and wandered onto Interstate 95 early Sunday morning, eventually crossing into Augusta before police arrived and safely corralled them from the highway.

The cattle were not harmed and did not cause any traffic accidents, said Sgt. Eric Lloyd of the Augusta Police Department, one of six officers who responded.

The officers located the animals in the northbound side of Interstate 95 on the exit ramp to U.S. Route 202, Lloyd said. They formed a semi-circle around the trio of cows — each weighing more than 1,000 pounds — and guided them to a vegetated area away from the interstate.

“We surrounded them and continued to make noise and push them towards the vegetation,” Lloyd said, chuckling about the experience. “It made for an interesting morning.”

The animals left their enclosure and probably came onto Interstate 95 from Whitten Road near the Camden National Bank Ice Vault skating rink, Lloyd said. That area is flat and level with the interstate and has no guardrails, he said.

After passers-by reported the animals to police around 6:15 a.m., a half-dozen officers arrived at the scene, one from Hallowell and the rest from Augusta. The cows had freely found their way to the exit ramp when police arrived, Lloyd said, so they didn’t have to block traffic in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95.

But traffic was delayed on the ramp as the six officers escorted the animals down it and into a wooded area off U.S. Route 202.

“Officer (Brett) Lowell was our lead wrangler, if you want to call him that,” Lloyd said. “He’s a little more familiar with livestock.”

Hallowell police contacted the animals’ owners, who came and retrieved the cattle, Lloyd said.

Augusta police did not charge the owners with anything, Lloyd said, because they were helpful and this was “a first time incident.” The officers advised them to take better precautions with their animals in the future.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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