MANATEE -- Manatee County sheriff's deputies today were searching for a wayward bull and warning motorists on U.S. 41 north of Palmetto to slow down in case he tried to cross the road.
A Palmetto police officer was injured late Tuesday when his patrol car struck two other bulls belonging to the sheriff's office.
The accident happened about 10:50 p.m. Tuesday about 300 feet south of Rock Payne Road. The Florida Highway Patrol said the officer did not see the bulls in the roadway.
Sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow said the two black brangus bulls had wandered off from a pasture in the 10000 block of U.S. 41 north of the accident scene. The intersection with Rock Payne Road is in the 8500 block of U.S. 41.
The officer was driving his cruiser southbound in the right-hand lane when he struck the first bull, causing the animal to be thrown onto the hood and into the windshield of the car. The car then struck the second bull, according to a FHP report.
The car continued south, traveling almost 2,000 feet before crossing the center media and the northbound lanes before going off the road and coming to a stop.
The officer had apparently been left unconscious by the collision with the bulls, according to FHP.
The officer was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he was listed in serious condition, according to the report.
This morning, deputies were stationed at the intersections with Rock Payne Road and Moccasin Wallow Road and near the Interstate 275 interchange, cautioning motorists to slow down because of the possibility the third bull might cross into traffic.