Man on run from law busted by cows

Published 8:05 am Friday, May 26, 2023

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Farmers who raise cows probably weren’t surprised by the news out of Boone, N.C. last week. Seems a herd of cows rounded up a lawbreaker who hid in their pasture after trying to outrun the cops.

It’s one of those stories news people love. Back in my days as a newspaper editor, I called them “Hey Martha” stories, as in, “Hey Martha. Come look at this.”

Seems Joshua Minton, a 34-year-old Boone man who clearly didn’t have a lick of sense, decided to try to outrun deputies of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department. At some point he also decided to ditch the vehicle and flee on foot, hoping to hide from the law.

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Minton hoofed it across a pasture and hunkered down out of sight so the deputies weren’t able to spot him. But ol’ “Milkshake” and her cow posse moseyed over to where the outlaw was hiding, circled around him and stared until their behavior tipped the police.

Boone Police Sgt. Dennis O’Neal later said officers had set up a perimeter when they noticed the herd in a circle with all the cows staring down at the ground. They knew enough about cows to know they should investigate, which they did, and found their man amongst the heifers.

Cattle farmers, be it beef, dairy or just farm family pets, know that cows are very curious animals. They all have a few stories in their quiver about their cows.

“Just sit down in a field with them and they will wander up to see what you are up to,” said Jennifer Perkins of Looking Glass Creamery in Columbus, where she and her husband Andy have a dairy herd producing milk for their artisan cheeses, caramel and ice cream. “Whenever Andy is out repairing a fence, the cows or calves all gather around to see what he’s doing.”

At C-Saw Hill Farm in Rutherfordton, Lisa Spoharski Higgins can vouch for the curious cows she and her husband Brandon have on their farm, where the milk is used to produce local ice cream and raw milk that has quickly produced a loyal following.

Their milk cow Ruby saunters into the barn when she hears their friend Bray McMahan strumming his guitar or when Higgins’ daughter C.J. starts picking.

No word on whether Ruby requested that old favorite, “Milk Cow Blues,” but you can bet the perp running from the law learned a lesson about cows that day up in Watauga County.


Good old #5101 of Looking Glass Creamery in Columbus checks out the camera.


Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at