Ashover Derbyshire, UK – Jon Maccoll, 44, of Danesmoor, Derbyshire, encountered a herd of five water buffalo while heading to work in his Ford Fiesta in September 2011.
The average mature water buffalo bull can weigh 800 to 2,600 lbs, and they are formidably aggressive animals. They are nomadic, herbivore grazers and travel in herds. Buffalo are used as draft, meat, and dairy animals. Depending on the breed of water buffalo, both sexes can either have curled or swept-back ridged horns, growing as long as six feet.
“You don’t expected to be going down a hill and five buffalo to run out, unless you’re in the Wild West maybe. The road has a 60 mph speed limit and I was probably doing 55 mph. I put my brakes on as quickly as possible but one was trailing at the back and put its head down and charged at the car.”
According to Maccoll, the herd came out of nowhere, galloping into the roadway. He assumes the lone, straggling water buffalo acted instinctively when the beast peered upon and charged his vehicle. The other four cantered further up the road, away from the car. Maccoll attempted to veer from the stampeding animal’s path, still going about 40 mph, but the buffalo managed to collide with the Fiesta’s headlight. Maccoll described how the back wheels of the car lift off the ground, and it pushed it back 10 or 15 feet.
“I just sat on the grass totally in shock. I didn’t know what had happened.”
The police arrived shortly after. The buffalo had to be euthanized roadside in order to put it out of its misery.
“The buffalo was screaming and there wasn’t anything I could do to help it. The road was an absolute river of blood”
The collision tore a tendon in Maccoll’s neck and injured his hand and knee. The father of two required a week off from his job in order to physically recuperate. However, Maccoll still suffers from a diagnosed case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), having nightmares and unsettling flashbacks of the event.
PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder resulting from a traumatic event or experience. It is common among people whom have endured prolonged stints in prison, war, and domestic abuse. Individuals afflicted with PTSD will suffer from symptoms like headaches and irritable bouts of anger and outbursts; be easily startled and hyperaware; experience difficulty sleeping; and be easily excitable.
Maccoll speculates, had the animal hit him head on instead of striking his headlight, the accident would have likely killed him.
“For a long time after, I had a fear of driving down country lanes. It could have killed me.”
It was later disclosed that the police had been informed of the missing herd prior to the accident. They’d been on the loose for a number of hours, escaping from Peak Buffalo, a specialized meat producer located on a 1,000 acre farm. They keep an estimated 350 water buffalo on the premises. A car had backed into one of the gates on the farm, creating an exit for the smaller herd to meander through.
Maccoll’s sued the owner of Peak Buffalo, Richard Gill, under the Animals Act 1971, which legislates liability to animal owners for damages concurrent to accidents and animals straying onto highways. The Telegraphreports Maccoll was awarded £7,000 (about $11,000 US) in compensation.
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