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October 23, 2017 05:06 PM

Owner Of Livestock Involved In Deadly Interstate Crash Speaks Out

Mitchell, SD

We're hearing for the first time from the owner of the livestock involved in this weekend's deadly crash on Interstate 90 near Mitchell.

One person died in the crash and a girl was critically injured after the cattle got loose on the interstate. According to the Highway Patrol, one car hit six cows on Interstate 90 and stopped. Another westbound car hit the car that had stopped. The driver of the second car eventually died of his injuries. He was not wearing a seatbelt, authorities say.   

The owner of the livestock tells KELOLAND News he feels terrible about what happened. 

Robert DeBoer says coyotes scared his cattle.

"I think that's what happened. They spooked these cattle," DeBoer said. "These cattle just came into the yard about two days prior to this, and they were a little nervous." 

These gates did not look like this.

"Both of these gates were flattened on the ground, and so, we kind of proceeded to round up these cattle that were in the yard here. We thought we had 'em all, we went down the roads and checked and couldn't find anything," DeBoer said.

Down this road on the edge of Mitchell, DeBoer says the cattle went toward Interstate 90.

"We were pretty much thought we had everything under control until we heard the sirens going off, and then we looked on the interstate, and we seen the red lights about a mile from here. We knew right away that something had gotten out and went down on the interstate," DeBoer said.

DeBoer says his cattle followed the road around a bend, and then they were in the ditch that lines the interstate. After getting out of their pen here, the cattle didn't have to cross any fencing. DeBoer says the whole situation makes him feel "terrible."

"I don't know what the answer is. Everybody has livestock," DeBoer said. "They get cattle that get out, whether it's in somebody's corn field or bean field, or whatever. They get on the road, and it happens." 

He says he's had cattle for 45 years. It's been three years, he says, since one got out.

"There isn't a farmer or rancher out there that hasn't had cattle get out. And we don't like to see that. We do our best to have the good fences and good corrals, but it just happens," DeBoer said.

Highway Patrol spokesperson Tony Mangan says the investigation into this deadly crash continues.

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