POSTED: Friday, March 25, 2011 - 5:36pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 25, 2011 - 8:00pm
SMITH COUNTY — Smith County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Britton is still fighting for his life tonight after he was hit by a cow while directing traffic. We're told law enforcement across the county are waiting and praying for his recovery, including Bullard Police chief Gary Lewis.
Lewis calls it a "freak accident." "He was doing what he was doing to protect others. It could happen a hundred times again and not have hurt anybody," he says.
Lewis was driving on FM 344 near Bullard at 1:30 in the morning Thursday, when he saw what looked like the scene of an accident. He turned around to see if a car was in the ditch, and saw a cow in the middle of the road. He says the cow appeared to have been hit by a car, and there were skid marks.
Since the cow was lying in the road in a valley, Lewis says it would have been hard for drivers to see it and stop in time. That's when he called Smith County Sheriff's Deputies to help direct traffic. Deputy Robert Britton was one of them.
"Even though it didn't appear to be life-threatening, they were preventing other people from getting injured," he says.
Lewis says as they were directing traffic, the cow--which hadn't been moving-- got up without warning and started heading toward him and Britton.
He says the cow hit Britton in the chest and knocked him.over. "His feet went up and hit the back of his head. I was standing within a few feet of him and kind of picked his head up. I put my hand under his head and was trying to talk to him, but he was unconscience...his body stiffened up," says Lewis.
Deputy Britton suffered head and neck injuries. The Department of Public Safety tells us the cow's owner could be at fault for having a cow outside of a fence. Officials say the driver could face charges for leaving the accident, since the cow is considered property.
So far, the cow's owner and driver are both unknown.