By Jennifer McGraw

LODI (CBS13) — A crash on Highway 99 turned the normally busy afternoon commute into a stampede when cattle were freed from a trailer.

“The tow truck rear-ended and the door can open and all the cows went out on the highway,” said Abby Ruegsegger who saw it all.

It happened right in the middle of rush hour tying up traffic for more than an hour near Eight Mile Road.

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“It was pretty crazy and everything,” Abby said. “We were just trying to get them corralled at first, but everyone started pushing them all back this way. People ran behind their cars.”

A tow truck smashed into a trailer and the bulls made a break for it. Even pounding around a patrol car. A close call for a California Highway Patrol officer.

“I was trying to not get stampeded, I jumped up to make sure I was safe,” said Officer Heather Lundbom.

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While the ranchers were wrangling, off-duty Linden firefighter Brandon Ruegsegger just happened to be nearby with his kids and trailer in tow.

“We were just coming back from dropping off some cattle in Galt and decided we could help,” he said.

They rounded up the bulls, but still, two were on the run leading ranchers, officers, and animal control on a hoof chase through these country roads.

“It was a bit of a stampede,” said Lundbom. “We tried to round them up before they got even north on the freeway.”

A chaotic scene to say the least.

“Could be dangerous to the traffic and obviously with speeds people use on Highway 99, it could be really dangerous,” said Brandon Ruegsegger.

Brief freedom on the freeway for these bulls who are now back where they belong.

Miraculously nobody, including the bulls, was seriously injured.

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