Oregon authorities have released details of the incredibly tragic death of 44 cows who were struck by five semi trucks on Highway 97 north of Madras.

Late Thursday night,  44 cows that wandered onto Highway 97 north of Madras, OR, were killed when they were struck by five different trucks that could not stop in time.    According to the Oregon State Patrol,  about 15 minutes before midnight,  the cows had wandered onto the highway and hit.   They belonged to the R2 Ranch, and had apparently slipped through a breach in the fence that runs along the road.

The cattle were in a stretch of land called "open range" along this stretch of Highway 97.    Most of the cattle were killed at the scene, the others that were fatally injured had to be put down.  Oregon Department of Transportation officials worked with R2Ranch workers to remove the deceased cows.

Two of the trucks had to be towed,  the other three suffered damage but were drivable.  None of the drivers were injured.

Officials remind motorists to observe  open range or livestock signs along roads and highways and be prepared for the possibility that these animals can often find a way through fencing, and onto the roads.