CHP Officer Joe Morrison figured the traffic jam ahead of him Thursday signaled a crash--until he saw the white pig waddling toward him.
Police and witnesses said the pig, weighing more than 300 pounds, had fallen off a truck and into traffic on the westbound Riverside Freeway near the Riverside County line.
It was the second time in two weeks that a pig had gotten loose on an Orange County freeway. Last week, a 400-pound sow escaped from a farm at Westminster High School and made it onto the San Diego Freeway nearby before she was rounded up.
Morrison, who had been on his way to work at 1:20 p.m. when he encountered the pig, happened to have a pole and harness used to snare stray dogs. But "it wasn't doing me much good, because the pig was dragging me down the freeway," he said. "The pig was taking me for a ride."
Four or five people helped by shoving the squealing animal away from traffic, which witnesses said backed up at least a mile.
"I'm a city boy," said Ken Skolyan, a computer teacher at Westminster High School who tried to calm the animal before animal-control officials roped and tugged it into a truck. "A squealing pig is not a good sound."
Morrison, a canine officer, said he learned a thing or two about pigs Thursday.
"I've never smelled anything so horrendous in my life," said Morrison, looking forward to a change of clothes. "I stink."
He said Orange County animal control officers will wait a week for the owner to claim the pig, then auction it. Skolyan said one of the drivers who stopped, a well-dressed woman on her way to a meeting, said she'd like to adopt it.