ATLANTA - An Atlanta highway turned into a circus Thursday afternoon when an escaped zebra galloped along a busy section of interstate with police in hot pursuit.
The 12-year-old animal, named Lima, was exercising outside a downtown arena in preparation for an evening show when something spooked him, said Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus spokeswoman Crystal Drake. The zebra broke away from his trainers and bumped up against a fence, then wriggled through an opening.
"We're not sure what it was that startled him, but we're looking into that," she said.
"All of a sudden a freaking zebra comes running down the street like a car," Daniel Nance told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Five or six police cars were in hot pursuit. And a bunch of officers on foot. But then I got scared, thinking ... what else is loose?"
Lima led his trainers and police on a 40-minute chase through downtown to the interstate highway that cuts through the center of the city, covering well over a mile along the way. Police cruisers blocked off all southbound lanes of Interstate 75 and were able to herd the zebra over to the right shoulder and off an entrance ramp, where his trainer was on hand to capture and soothe him, Drake said.
"He obviously was excited, but he was in good shape," Drake said. "His handler calmed him down."
The animal suffered cuts on his hooves from his long run, Drake said. The show's vet was examining him, but Drake said he would likely perform as scheduled.
"It was just an unavoidable accident today and we're just glad to have him home."