SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — There were cows running loose on Interstate 75 in Sumter County after a big rig hauling more than 80 bovines overturned Thursday morning.

  • Cows close I-75 southbound after semi-trailer crash
  • Authorities tried to lasso some of the escaped bovines
  • FHP: Driver fell asleep at wheel, struck guardrail

The semi-tractor trailer carrying the cows crashed on I-75 just before 8:30 a.m. just south of Florida's Turnpike when the driver fell asleep at the wheel, drifted toward the median, and struck a guardrail, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said.

The semi was hauling 83 cows, FHP said. Some scattered across the lanes after the crash, causing the interstate to be shut down in both directions while authorities rounded up the freed animals.

One southbound lane was back open just after 11 a.m. Hours later, one lane on the southbound side and two lanes on the northbound side were still closed.

All lanes reopened at 4 p.m.

The 59-year-old driver of the semi, who troopers say is from Plant City, was wearing a seat belt and not hurt. He was cited for careless driving. Unfortunately, the crash killed 19 cows, troopers said.