For a moment Thursday, Helen Barber’s car had a new hood ornament: a 550-pound moose.
Barber was preparing a tax return in her North Side accounting office when her secretary burst in to tell her about the drugged animal that had just keeled over in the parking lot.
Remarkably, the full-grown cow moose did little damage to Barber’s 1984 Chrysler Fifth Avenue.
“It could have been so much worse,” she said.
Before being tranquilized, the moose led police, sheriff’s deputies and state Fish and Wildlife officials on a wild, three-hour chase.
It started about 8 a.m. near the Newport Highway Cinemas and ended on Francis, three blocks west of Division.
Pursued by a pair of state Fish and Wildlife officials and a veterinarian armed with a tranquilizer gun, the moose ambled through neighborhoods, parking lots and busy city streets.
“My greatest fear was that animal moving in front of a vehicle,” said veterinarian Luther McConnell.
At one point in the chase, the moose charged McConnell and the state officials.
“We had her cornered in the back yard of someone’s house,” McConnell said. “The only way (for her) to escape was to charge us.”
McConnell shot her with the tranquilizer gun. When she charged, the men jumped out of the way.
For five more minutes, the woozy moose kept running - west on Francis, then across Division, freezing traffic at one of the city’s busiest intersections.
After the animal collapsed on Barber’s car, the Fish and Wildlife officials loaded her in a truck and headed north. They released her near Deer Park, McConnell said.
“Everybody involved handled the situation well,” he said. “You never want to see the moose or anybody else get hurt in something like this.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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