A Taranaki policeman who attended a crash where a truck had ploughed into a herd of cattle has described the carnage he encountered.
The crash, on State Highway 3 near Mokau, happened about 7pm on Tuesday and 18 animals were either killed or had to be destroyed as a result.
It had prompted a warning to motorists to take care on rural roads.
Constable Daniel Walter, of Mokau, said he found carnage when he arrived.
"There was a trail of probably 150 metres, there was dead cattle beasts all over the road in both lanes," he said.
Wandering stock was a common problem at this time of the year because of a shortage of feed.
"Cattle especially are more prone to seek feed, which is more abundant on the roadside," he said.
Farmers were being asked to ensure stock were secure but motorists also needed to be aware.
"Obviously it's a busy road and any sort of cattle beast or stock on the road at night-time poses a high risk to motorists," Mr Walter said.
"It's probably fortunate that they were only yearling heifers and it was a truck that bowled into them. If it was a smaller vehicle, we might have had a different result."
Another motorist called the Taranaki Daily News yesterday saying they had encountered a similar situation last week.
Mr Walter said drivers who encountered wandering stock should call *555 so police could be notified.
The highway was closed for about 2 hours while firefighters and roading contractors washed down the road and spread grit at the scene.
He said the fence and gate were in good condition and inquiries into how the cattle escaped were continuing.
"I don't believe that there is any negligence or recklessness on the farmer's part."
He said the farmer would be having other animals checked and it was possible another three would have to be euthanased.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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