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Escaped Virginia yak, who bolted from trailer on ride to butcher, dies after truck hits him


Meteor the yak finally got whacked.

More than two weeks after the elusive yak escaped from his owner en route to the butcher and vanished into the mountains, the animal died Friday morning in Lovingston, Va., after a vehicle hit him on the freeway, officials said.

Meteor had turned heads after he broke loose from his owner’s trailer Sept. 10, dazzling passersby who spotted him and leaving officials flummoxed as they attempted to pin down the bovid.

The 3-year-old mammal met his fate no more than a half-mile away from where he escaped, Meteor’s owner, Robert Cissell, told the Daily News. The vehicle, believed to be a semi-trailer truck, did not stop.

The animal was bleeding and bruised when officials showed up at the scene of the collision, Nelson County Animal Control officer Kevin Wright said. The severity of the injuries led officials to euthanize the yak.

Meteor had at times travelled as far as 8-10 miles from his starting point during the long-running pursuit, Wright said. The search ebbed and flowed with each passing sighting. A week ago, after a spotting, it returned to high gear.

“We had horseback riders involved," Wright told The News. “We had the vet involved. We had people with roping skills that were volunteering to join the hunt.”

But Meteor evaded capture yet again.

He was finally hit near U.S. Route 29, the north-south highway that bisects central Virginia, cutting its way toward Washington. The 800-pound yak had previously crossed the four-lane thruway, but this time he wasn’t so lucky. Officials found Meteor near the intersection of Mountain Cove Road and Route 29.

Cissell, who runs Nature’s Bridge Farm with his family in nearby Buckingham, returned the animal to the farm.

“We brought him back here,” Cisell said, “and laid him to rest.”