Editor’s note: The following is a story by Richmond Hill High School correspondent Stephen Hundley and is an example of participatory journalism - since he helped try to capture the subject of his story. Some opinion is included in this story.On the lengthy stretches of Hwy. 144, a hoofed menace laid siege on the decent, hardworking folk of greater Richmond Hill. A rouge baby hog escaped from its owner’s watchful eye and took to patrolling the edges of Hwy. 144 near the Mighty Mikes Hot Stop gas station. It’s not certain when the fiend started its reign of terror. Onsite sources are unsure whether it was late Sunday night, Jan. 25, or early the following morning. Phillip Stewart, the onetime owner of the furry outlaw, stated that he had given the hog, which goes by no name other than the Scourge of 144, to a boy residing in the Buckhead community, from whom it escaped shortly after the exchange.
Throughout the week of Jan. 25, the tiny marauder was not only strutting his stuff up and down the highway in defiance, but interrupting the normal flow of traffic in the process. Onsite pig chaser Austin Powell, a senior at Richmond Hill High School, said that the hog is "causing trouble with the cars." And indeed drivers had to drive extra carefully during the pig’s dominion which, deviously enough, frequented the highway the most between the hours of mid to late afternoon, when homebound drivers are heading home from work and school. Thankfully no one was hurt, although the combination of the scurrying safety hazard’s antics and the untiring, if ill located, efforts of the pig chasers certainly created a stressful driving environment.
As expected, the fighting city of Richmond Hill, along with its surrounding communities, did not take this delinquent behavior lying down. Members of the community all pitched in to rid the area of the menace. Richmond Hillians of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life pulled their cars over to lend their bodies, enthusiasm, ideas, and, in one instance, hunting dog to the anti-hog cause. At one point, there were no less than 10 vehicles, some caring more than one occupant, lining Hwy. 144. As a result of all the help passing through, a formidable, if temporary and weekend-warriorish, task force assembled.
Even with all this help, apprehending the swine was no easy feat. However, confronting the wily pig was eventually narrowed down to a loose strategy of waiting, unrelenting blitzkrieg, followed by more waiting. Generally a skirmish played out like so: the beast appeared from the wood line on a given side of the highway, the "pig chasers" fanned out so as to cut off the pig’s exit back into the woods as well as the Highway and began to close in on the animal, one pig chaser, who carried the human coalition’s secret weapon, a standard fish retrieval net on a four foot pole, closed on the hog, generally at this point the boar’s Reggie Bush-like juking ability coupled with its speed and low center of gravity proved to be too much for the net bearing chaser and the fiend retreated speedily back into the woods, generally being chased by the entire party of sprinting pig chasers; rinse, wash, and repeat.
Stewart has deduced that the pig’s uncanny ability to find its "hyper drive" is due to its survival instinct. "It’s one fast son-of-a-gun," Stewart summed up accurately.
Whatever the origins of the animal’s NFL-worthy skill are the residents of greater Richmond Hill can breathe easy.
An ongoing "Hog Watch" along 144, made up of a league of pig chasers and do-gooders, suggests that the swine hasn’t ventured to the highway’s edge in over a week. And so it has come to pass that the mysterious ghost pig of Hwy. 144 has transcended our communal spheres to join the ranks of Big Foot, the Yeti, and El Cupicapra, living on only in myth and legend. The highways may be safe from the hellion’s devilment, but Richmond Hill residents, and any who brave 144, can take heart in knowing that the pig chasers watch still and vow to take up arms, or rather fishnet, again should the beast return from its woody exile.