Motorist compensated after car was charged by stampeding buffalo
Published 30/01/2013 | 17:05
A MOTORIST has been awarded £7,000 (€8,150) compensation after being injured when his car was charged by a herd of stampeding buffalo. Jon Maccoll was on his way to work and close to a town centre in Derbyshire when he was confronted by five of the beasts running down the road.
When they saw his Ford Fiesta, one of them "put his head down and charged the car".
In the ensuing collision, Mr Maccoll, 44, tore a tendon in his neck and hurt his hand and knee, while the buffalo had to be put down.
The 1,600lbs animals had escaped from a nearby specialist meat factory, and Mr Mccoll sued him under the Animals Act 1971.
He said: "Most people don’t believe me when I tell them what happened,
"You don’t expected to be going down a hill and five buffalo to run out, unless you’re in the Wild West maybe.
"The road has a 60 mph speed limit and I was probably doing 55 mph. I put my brakes on as quickly as possible but one was trailing at the back and put its head down and charged at the car."
Mr Maccoll, who has two children, needed a week off work to recover from his physical injuries, but after suffering nightmares and flashbacks was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
He added: "The buffalo just cantered into the road. They came out of nowhere. The last buffalo just put its head down and went for me. i think it was just acting instinctively.
"I tried to swerve and it collided with my headlight. By the point I had managed to slow a little, but was still doing about 40mph so it was a big impact. I felt the back wheels of my car lift off the ground, and it pushed me back 10 or 15 feet.
"I felt it go down the side of the car, and I was able to finally pull over. The other four buffalo galloped off up the hill. I just sat on the grass totally in shock. I didn't know what had happened.
"The police turned up after about ten minutes, and a marksman shot the poor thing to put it out of its misery.
"The whole incident turned me upside down. I am still not quite 100 percent, but I will hopefully get better as the years go by.
"For a long time after, I had a fear of driving down country lanes. It could have killed me. If the buffalo had hit me head on, instead of by the headlight, I might not be here today."
Mr Maccoll, from Danesmoor, Derbyshire, said the incident, in September 2011, has taken him a long time to come to terms with because of the injuries suffered by the animal.
He said: "With it being an animal it really upset me. If I’d run a rabbit over I’d feel guilty for weeks but this really, really upset me.
"The buffalo was screaming and there wasn’t anything I could do to help it. The road was an absolute river of blood.
"After it happened I lay in bed for the first two or three days and was in shock.
"I wouldn’t go near the road and was very emotional and upset. A week or two after I realised I was not right.
"I kept reliving the event and had flashbacks and nightmares. I was seeing animals in my sleep without any skin on."
Mr Maccoll went to see a psychologist who diagnosed him with post traumatic stress disorder.
His solicitor, Mark Fisher, of Sheffield firm Graysons WE, said: "I specialise in niche cases, but this is certainly one of the strangest I have come across."
It emerged that the buffalo had been on the loose for a number of hours and the police were out looking for them. They could have wandered around eight miles from the farm's base in Eastmoor, five miles west of Chesterfield.
The accident happened near on the A632 near to Ashover, Derbys, around four miles from Matlock.
The animals belonged to Peak Buffalo, based in Eastmoor, Derbys, which provides specialist meats to a number of local businesses, including the farm shop at Chatsworth House.
The 1,000-acre farm has been in the same family for five generations, and currently has a herd of around 350 water buffalo.
The owner, Richard Gill, denied the company had poor security after the buffaloes escaped, and said: "The reason the buffalo were out was that a car had backed into one of our gates, which is something that happens all the time."
Nick Britten, Telegraph.co.uk