LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - More than a dozen cows were killed and three people were hospitalized after loose cattle wandered onto State Highway 114 in between Smyer and Levelland around 4 a.m. Sunday.
The black Angus cattle were hard to see until the last minute, witnesses said, and caused four car accidents.
Stephanie Washington and Kourtney Smith drove up on one of the first wrecks.
"Their lights were blinking," Smith said, "and we just really didn't know what was going on."
They immediately pulled over.
"I saw a truck smashed in, its hood and everything," Smith said, "and there was a cow sitting under the truck."
Feeling helpless, Smith called 911.
"Right when I was talking to them, another car was coming from Levelland to Lubbock and they just hit a cow right there," she said, "and I screamed and tried to throw the phone down and go out there."
Washington tried to stay calm, but said the wrecks made her hyperventilate.
"It was screeching, you could smell rubber," she said, "and I got really emotional because it's hard for me to watch things like that."
Within minutes, first responders like Anthony Maye with the Smyer Volunteer Fire Department were on scene.
There were already four crashes at that point and over a dozen cattle dead.
"We had several people locally that were trying to hold traffic until we got there," Maye said.
First responders focused on a van that had three people inside who were rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
"She said she didn't have time to hit her brakes before she hit the cow," Maye said.
Then, authorities had to call area ranchers to help with the surviving cattle.
"I think around that intersection there were 30 to 40 cattle," Maye said.
While the highway reopened around 7:30 a.m., there are still marks that outline the cattle on the road and parts of totaled vehicles left behind.
But Maye said that type of blind situation could have had a much worse outcome.
"Everybody reacting to it quickly probably saved some lives," he said.
This accident is still under investigation according to DPS.