Loose Livestock Causing Crashes, Resident Wants Accountability
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
SEMINOLE, Oklahoma -- If you drive down the highways of Oklahoma, cattle and horses behind a fence is a probably a daily sight. But what happens when livestock crosses that fence? It's something that happens more often than you might think and the results can be deadly which is why one man is working for change.
In Seminole County, law enforcement receives at least two calls a day about loose livestock putting drivers in jeopardy. That's about 730 close calls a year, and some of those end in tragedy.
"She gave me a kiss and told me she loved me and I saw her leave and the next thing I knew there was a state trooper at my door," said Kevin Brinker, who lost his mother in a car accident.
His mom Edna had been killed in a car accident. Her car was crushed. Other drivers had tried to warn law enforcement of the danger
"It was the biggest shock of my life," Brinker said. "It's not a freak accident and my mother's accident could have been prevented."
A Shawnee police car was smashed when an officer slammed into a horse also on the loose.
"Property owners, if they're going to have horses, cattle, any kind of livestock, they should be held accountable," Brinker said.
That's where Representative Ryan Kiesel is stepping in. He's planning to put horses and cattle as a priority this session, proposing a database of loose livestock calls that officers answer and the broken fences the animals escape from.
"They take pictures so we have a file of that because in Oklahoma, our liability laws are sufficient. An owner is only liable if there is proof you negligently allow that livestock to escape from property," Rep. Kiesel said.
It's been nine months and the Brinker family still doesn't know who owned the horse that caused their loved one's accident. They do know they keep seeing the problem on Highway 9.
"They'll be run back in and a week later they'll be back out again, there's no accountability," Brinker said.
A cross sits where Edna Brinker lost her life, a constant reminder for her son who will keep fighting for a new law.
"I don't want anyone to go through this," Kevin Brinker said.
The officer in the Shawnee accident involving a horse has recovered. The horse owners in that case did come forward and take responsibility.
Representative Kiesel said he'll propose legislation to target those who repeatedly leave fences un-mended and livestock to run loose.