Stray Cow Causes Wrecks on I-40

CASTLE HAYNE — One man is dead and two others are critically injured after a cow wandered onto I-40 near Castle Hayne around 9 P.M. last night, causing a three-car pileup as drivers tried to avoid the panicked animal.
Raphael T. Nitsworthy, 33, of 10989 Semmes Blvd., was killed after his car hit the black-and-white Jersey steer head on, flipping the beast over the hood of his 2002 Mercedes. It bounced off the roof of the car and onto the trunk before the animal finally hit the road behind Nitsworthy’s sedan.
The car was going around 80 mph, police estimate. It veered off the road, plowed through a shallow ditch and collided with a pine tree, where it came to rest. Nitsworthy was killed instantly, police said.
Miraculously, the dairy cow got to its feet and weaved across the northbound lanes of traffic, causing motorists to run onto the shoulders of the road to avoid the creature.
In the general chaos, complicated by the poorly-lit stretch of road where the cow was walking, two other northbound cars sideswiped each other, injuring their occupants and causing both cars to end up on the southbound side of the road, flipped on their sides.
Police, fire and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene around 10 P.M.
Police extricated Deena G. Guffy and Ralph X. Caprice, both of Castle Hayne, from the front seat of a 1987 Chevy Cavalier. They were treated at the scene for head trauma and taken to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center where they were both listed in critical condition early this morning.
Police searched the area for the owner of the cow, who could be held responsible for all the damage and death, police said.
The owner of a dairy farm three miles away, the only place with this breed of cattle for more than 100 miles, said he was not missing any of his animals, according to police.
The investigation is continuing.
The deceased, Raphael T. Nitsworthy, was a waiter at Hieronymus Seafood, 5089 Market St., for more than 10 years.
“He was the greatest guy in the world,” said co-worker Adelaide Vandergelder. “He’d give you the shirt off his back, and then give you his undershirt, too.”
Nitsworthy left behind two young daughters, Abby and Nancy, and his wife, Ramona.
The cow is doing well at the Dine Veterinary Clinic on Floral Highway in Wilmington, and they are asking for the owner to claim her.

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