Cow hit by Amtrak; poacher may have cut fence

OKEECHOBEE — It’s a scene familiar in old-time Westerns featuring the great expansion west: the train’s journey is halted by a herd of cows standing across the railroad tracks. Here’s the twist: it’s only one cow and the train is an Amtrak.

Deputy Bryan Holden of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department (OCSO) reported to the scene of the accident, the CSX railroad tracks approximately three miles east of the Lofton Road crossing, on Feb. 4. A call had been received about an Amtrak train colliding with a cow. The train engineer advised Deputy Holden that no damage was done to the train or passengers.

According to Deputy Holden, he contacted the cow’s owner, who responded to the scene and removed the cow from the railroad tracks. Once the tracks were cleared, Deputy Holden’s report stated that he found two piles of hominy, which is ground corn, in the middle of the tracks. The two piles were approximately half a mile apart.

The cow’s owner advised the deputy that he has been having trouble with poachers cutting his fence and entering his property from the tracks to hunt.

The man stated it has been an ongoing problem with poachers hunting along the railroad tracks as well.

The point of impact occurred at one of the piles of hominy. Deputy Holden’s report indicated that it is believed the cow stood on the railroad tracks eating the hominy at the time the train struck the cow. It is unknown whether the hominy was placed on the tracks by poachers or spillage from a freight train hauling commodities.

The cow’s owner stated he would begin checking his fence daily until the poaching problem can be stopped by law enforcement. At the time of the report, the deputy and owner were unable to locate the spot in the fence where the cow had escaped.

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