LONDON, Ohio (WCMH) – A Madison County man was killed after crashing into a cow in the middle of the road on Sept. 30.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol crash report shows 32-year-old Justin Abrams was traveling eastbound on Big Plain Circleville Road around 9:45 p.m. when he hit a black cow standing in the road.
The crash report and a visit to the crash scene show the crash happened just over a slight downgrade in the road, potentially limiting visibility for the oncoming motorcycle.
Abrams was a member of the ‘Relentless Saintz’ motorcycle club, a club that prides itself on giving back to the community and providing for those in need. They said that’s just the kind of man Justin, also known as ‘Cuzzo,’ was.
“He was a good guy man. He was a guy that would drop anything he’s got going on to come if somebody needed some help man. He was a good dad, a good brother. He was just a good guy man,” said ‘G’ the President and Founder of ‘Relentless Saintz’ motorcycle club.
Abrams had four kids and was planning to marry his longtime girlfriend Katie Williams in April.
“I never thought that I would have to spend one second without him. I never thought that I would have to raise 3, 4 children by myself,” Williams said. “I had to wake up the next morning and tell them their dad wasn’t here. He didn’t come home. “Life feels very overwhelming without him.”
Williams recalled the night it happened. Abrams was on his way home from the club after Williams had picked up Little Caesar’s for dinner. The kids were in bed, and she didn’t realize how much time had gone by. Then some club members texted, called and started to show up.
She called the Sheriff’s Office to see if there was a crash. She was put on hold and then told a Deputy would be out to see her.
“He said, ‘Ma’am he hit a cow.’ I said ‘So you’re telling me he ran off the side of the road, he’s in the middle of a field he hit a cow.’ And he said ‘No ma’am.’ So I looked at him and said ‘So you’re telling me there’s a cow in the middle of the road.’ And he said ‘Yes ma’am,’” Williams said.
“Even when you’re out riding you think about deer. You don’t think about a cow in the road,” said ‘G’, a man with more than two decades of riding experience.
A group of club members met Thursday evening to share about ‘Cuzzo’ and the legacy he leaves behind. They understand there’s a risk every time they get on the bike.
“There’s a chance ain’t none of us coming home. But we do it for the kids, we do it for the families, and we do it for the joy,” said ‘Bones’ another member of ‘Relentless Saintz.’
The club, while Katie was hesitant at first when they joined, has become a godsend.
“I’ll say it everyday, he left me an army. That man left me an army,” WIlliams said.
The club members and families all see each other as family, but that doesn’t make the loss easier.
“Look at these babies. That’s the hardest part for me. Knowing the youngest one there, he’ll probably never remember. That cow took that away from them babies,” said ‘G’.
Williams wants accountability for the life taken that night.
“It just upsets me that that man has animals he’s responsible for, and he didn’t take care of his responsibilities and that took away my whole life. I want him to know that he has to do a better job. Or this could happen to not just me but somebody else’s family,” said Williams.
Peggy Kirk Hall with Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program helped explain what the law says about loose livestock. She said in an email that, “This law requires livestock owners to contain their livestock and keep them from running onto public roadways and others’ land.”
She went on to explain that, “A keeper of livestock who negligently permits them to run at large is liable for damages the animals cause (R.C. 951.10). She added that, “The keeper can present evidence of exercising ‘reasonable’ or ‘ordinary’ care and not ‘negligently permitting’ the animals to be running at large – such as having good fences and gates, checking fences and animals regularly, couldn’t have known the animals were out, a storm took down a fence or spooked the animals, someone let the animals out, keeper was trying to get animals in and contain them, etc.”
The Madison County Prosecutor’s office referred any questions about the crash to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
For the family and brothers at the club, accountability is what they want.
“We’d like to see something happen. It is his cattle that was out. And from what I’m hearing it’s not the first time that he’s had cattle loose. It was an accident or something you know but you got to be accountable for it. Everybody else in the world has to be accountable for their actions,” said ‘G’.
There were several witnesses that found the crash scene that night, Abrams and the cow laid out in the road.
The crash report from OSHP states a vehicle with three teenagers was traveling in the same direction as Abrams. He passed them on his motorcycle shortly before the crash.
“I do know that if Justin wouldn’t have hit that cow, those kids coming home from homecoming would’ve hit that cow,” Williams said.
She wants to make sure people are more aware of the roadways, and more responsible with livestock.
The motorcycle club and friends have set up a CashApp account for Abrams’ kids under the name “$forevercuzzo” where all proceeds and donations will go to his four children.