'It was so random': Bison crosses rush hour traffic west of Edmonton

It was not what Keira Boutilier expected to see on her way into Stony Plain to visit some friends.

Boutilier was driving east on Highway 16 near Highway 779 Wednesday evening around 5:30 p.m. when she had a close encounter with an animal on the loose.

"The people coming west, they're all like slowed down and I'm, like, just so confused," she said.

"And then I see this giant, like, buffalo bison thing. I thought it was a moose at first and then it started running into my lane."

She slowed down and pulled out her phone, capturing an eight second video of the animal running out of the median ditch, across three lanes, and into a field on the south side of the highway.

Boutilier said everyone slowed down until the animal left the highway, and it didn't appear that anything was damaged or anyone was injured.

"I was so confused. I didn't even realize there was bison close to here. It was so random. I've been driving at night and I've seen moose, but to see a bison, I'm like where did that come from?" Boutilier said with laugh.

Stray livestock in Alberta are the responsibility of the not-for-profit group Livestock Identification Services Ltd.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for that organization confirmed to CTV News Edmonton that "RCMP had three calls about the buffalo. They responded immediately and the buffalo were already back inside of the fence where they belong."

It wasn't clear how many animals escaped or for how long.

Wood Bison bulls can weigh up to 880 kilograms (about 1,900 lbs) and stand about 182 centimetres (6 feet), according to The Canadian Encyclopaedia.

Wood Bison cows can weigh up to 540 kilograms (about 1,200 lbs) and stand about 152 centimetres (5 feet).