Elephant, horses escape from circus
Yucca Valley residents flood sheriff's department with calls; one circus employee hurt in incident.

The Associated Press © 2000 4/21/00
YUCCA VALLEY


Terrified residents flooded the Sheriff's Department with calls Thursday when they saw a circus elephant walking through their neighborhood.

Only one person, a circus employee, was injured.

The elephant, part of the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus, got out of its pen shortly after a performance Thursday night and wandered three blocks down a local street before circus handlers got control of it.

A circus ticket taker was stepped on by the elephant and may have suffered a broken hip, said Anita Baker, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

No residents were hurt, but Baker said they flooded the Sheriff's Department with calls.

"Everyone's seen that horrible footage on TV where the elephant tramples people," she said.

Soon after the workers captured the elephant, three circus horses got loose, but they were quickly captured without incident, Baker said.

The circus had just completed the second of three nights of performances in the desert city.