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As rural landscapes urbanize livestock accident risks rise

People who live in big cities have little concept of the kinds of animal life that may be encountered outside their urban environs. This may be true even for a lot of folks in central Illinois centers like Springfield, Champaign and Decatur.

Go even just a few miles beyond the limits of such cities and you might be surprised what you come across. Anyone who has driven the interstate system surely has seen the carcasses of deer, raccoons and skunks. Fewer may anticipate the possibility of having a run-in with horse, cow, sheep or pig. But they have been known to occur and the result can be a possibly deadly farm accident.

In such situations, if the animals have escaped their confines because of a livestock owner's negligence, those owners should not be surprised if victims seek to hold them accountable for the damage and injury caused.

This may be something that a 52-year-old woman from the northern part of the state is exploring now. According to police, she was driving along a U.S. highway late last month when she collided with one of a pair of horses that had escaped from a farm in the area.

Details are rather scarce. Official reports do say that the force of the crash sent the horse through the windshield of the woman's Honda CRV. She was wearing her seat belt and the crash triggered her air bag. Still, she suffered serious enough injuries that she had to be airlifted to the hospital. At last word she was reported in stable condition. The horse was euthanized at the scene under the owner's direction.

Officials say neither drugs nor alcohol are considered to have been factors in the crash. As this is written, there's no word that any citations or charges have been filed in the case, but that could change. The investigation is said to be still underway.

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