By Stephanie Lucero, Bud Gillett, & Giles Hudson, CBSDFW.COM

An overturned cattle truck created a traffic nightmare along Interstate-35E in Dallas on May 24, 2012. (credit: KTVT/KTXA)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A major North Texas highway was shut down early Thursday morning after a truck carrying 89 head of cattle flipped over. The accident sent several dazed and confused animals onto the freeway.

According to the truck driver, cattle got loose on the upper level of the two-tier truck, causing the trailer to begin leaning. This happened around 1:15 a.m. along Interstate-35E at Colorado Boulevard, as drivers make the transition from Oak Cliff into downtown Dallas.

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In order to avoid hitting another car, the driver laid the trailer down into the HOV lane, hitting the barrier wall. He was not injured during the crash, but he has been detained. Authorities believe that he may have not been licensed to drive this type of vehicle.

An animal rescue team with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene to help deal with the cattle. Roughly 70 head were rounded up into a corral on the highway.  The rest had to be euthanized because their injuries were too severe. Authorities said two frightened animals even leaped over the bridge to their death.

“We rescued about 70 live cows out of the truck, and when I say rescue, I mean they went in there and they cut walls, they moved dead cows to get to live cows,” said Capt. Mark Howard, Dallas County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman.

The freeway was blocked for about nine hours. Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation encouraged drivers to find alternate routes. All roads have since been re-opened.

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The driver was identified as Marcus Melvin Brownlow, 20, of Palestine. Thursday afternoon, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carmen Castro said Brownlow was charged with DWI “but we know alcohol was not a factor.”

“We do suspect amphetamines, but won’t know until the tests come back,” she wrote.

Castro said Brownlow’s truck log was not current and he “does not hold the proper type of license.”

The crash frazzled the nerves of many morning motorists, and some even ran out of gas while waiting to get through the area. “I’m barely dealing with it. My gas hand is almost on ‘E’ and I’m late for work,” said driver Teka Worthy. “It is very tough, and I saw three cars back there that was on the side of the freeway with no gas, and I don’t want to be the next one.”

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