- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2014

Three elephants broke free from their circus masters in St. Louis, then stormed through the nearby parking lot, damaging cars and trucks in their paths.

The female elephants were supposed to be performing with the Moolah Shrine Circus, CNN reported. But instead, they took to the Family Arena parking lot and walked over several of the vehicles. Apparently, they were spooked by a loud noise, Newsy reported.

“These huge elephants literally went through these huge RVs,” said one witness Sally Schmiz, to the local KMOV, United Press International reported. “Then they went through two trucks breaking mirrors off, and panels off and breaking the windows.”

Another eyewitness to the mayhem said people started chasing the wayward beasts — though what they would have done had they caught them is largely an unknown.

“We saw all these people running after them,” said Karyn Tunnicliff to the local KSDK. “They were all screaming ‘stop, stop,’ and several of the circus people were trying to run alongside them.”

Dennis Kelley, the circus president, struck a calm tone with the elephant chase, which lasted roughly 45 minutes.

He said in a statement reported by UPI: “The elephants were loose for a brief period. The handlers were able to occupy the animals, and they are resting comfortably at this time.”