LAS CRUCES — It’s not often you see an emu trucking down Interstate 10.
But Las Cruces motorists were treated to the sight of the wandering bird bobbing and weaving down the interstate Tuesday as members of the Mesilla Marshal’s Department, City of Las Cruces Codes Enforcement and Doña Ana County Codes Enforcement chased and eventually assisted in the capture of the big bird.
Part of the escapade was captured on video and posted to Facebook at 5:46 p.m. by Alyssa Ilano. It shows three uniformed officers trying to corner the emu while traffic is at a standstill on I-10, between exits 140 and 142.
The video, which has more than 100,000 views, shows the emu traveling from one side of the interstate to the other and back again before one of the officers, using a restraining pole, knocks the emu to the ground. The bird, not yet in the restraints, gets up and runs from the officers. The video ends before the emu is captured.
Kelly Jameson, Doña Ana Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said traffic was stopped “thanks to the kindness of two truckers.”
Officers did eventually help trap and detain the bird while on Interstate 10, Jameson said. New Mexico State University Animal and Range Sciences employees also assisted in the capture.
As of Thursday morning, the emu was waiting for its owners to spring it from detention and take it home.
Reports of a stray emu roaming around the county south of Mesilla had been coming into the sheriff’s department for three days prior to Tuesday’s capture, Jameson said.
Laurencio Torres said he witnessed law enforcement officials chasing the emu for about “30 to 40 minutes” Tuesday off of Stern Drive, a frontage road on the west side of Interstate 10.
Torres said he took his son to soccer practice at a park off of Stern at about 5 p.m. Shortly thereafter, he noticed an LCPD car driving slowly on Stern.
“I saw the cop car going after it,” he said, referencing the emu, “and there were some sheriff’s or other officers on foot. They were trying to corner it.”
Eventually, the officers had the emu cornered next to the fence that separates the interstate from Stern Drive.
“There was only one way for it to go, so it jumped the fence,” Torres said.
Jameson confirmed officers chased the bird down irrigation canals, through residential areas and eventually on to the interstate.
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