As anyone who has taken my torts class can attest, I collect bizarre torts cases, often falling body cases and res ipsa loquitur cases. One appears to have gotten away a few years ago that a current student just sent in. Charles Everson Jr. and his wife Linda barely escaped injury when a cow fell out of the sky and landed on the hood of their moving minivan. What is most amazing is that I can actually top this story in the airborne bovine category.
In incident occurred in Manson, Washington when a cow fell 200 feet off a cliff on to the van traveling on Highway 150. The couple was returning from church service. I am not sure whether that shows God was pleased or annoyed with their offering. I will assume that he was pleased with the Eversons since it landed on the hood.
Everson, 49, said at the time he was a bit speechless: “I’m like, ‘I don’t believe this. I don’t believe this. I don’t believe this.”” which he repeated “about 20 times.” Studies have shown that the average adult will say “I don’t believe this” over 15 times when hit by a failing cow.
The 600 pound cow had wandered away from a local farm. What is clear is that cows are fully capable of parachuting as the video below shows — leading investigators to ask why this cow took this particular action. It is believed that the cow had learned that her bull was seeing other cows and decided to “jump the cud” — a cow term for suicide. Either that or Al Qaeda has started recruiting bovine moojahideen.
In both England and the United States, wandering farm animals were treated as matters for strict liability. Here’s the question: does that include falling on vehicles from a great height?
Now for the return volley. There is a widely circulated story that, In 1997, the crew of a Japanese fishing boat was pulled from the Sea of Japan with a bizarre story. They claimed a cow had fallen from the sky in the middle of the ocean and passed through the boat — sinking it and leaving them clinging to wreckage for hours. They were arrested but later released when Russian air force officials admitted that a crew of a Russian cargo plane had stolen a cow in Siberia and tried to take it home. Once airborne, the cow apparently panicked and started rampaging through the cargo hold, so the crew shoved it out the back at 30,000 feet.
There are some who have suggested that this is an urban legend but I say back off. Until you can offer a better cow jumping story, this (as they say in the media business) is a fact too good to check.
For the Michigan cow story, click here.