CASEYVILLE, IL (KTVI) – A major mess on Interstate 64 Monday morning after a cattle truck rolled over, letting some of the animals loose on the highway. No people were seriously hurt, but ten of the cattle are dead.
“It`s been a nightmare,” said Caseyville Fire Chief G.W. Scott.
The accident happened at approximately 1:30 a.m. on westbound Interstate 64 just under the I-255 overpass.
The driver apparently veered out of his lane, sideswiped a Ford Focus, and then over-corrected, causing the trailer to roll over.
It took eight hours to clear the scene and reopen the highway.
“It has been a long gitty up and go deal. It is just hard to get those animals out of there. They are all in a shook up state anyway and it is just one here, one there,” said Scott.
Of the 65 head of cattle in the trailer, five got loose. One jumped the barrier and wandered into the eastbound lanes, but managed to avoid the traffic.
The Illinois State Police, unable to catch the loose animals, determined their only course of action was to shoot them in the interest of traffic safety. Five more of the cattle were killed in the crash itself and were removed from the trailer by Petroff towing. The carcasses were sent to a rendering plant in East St. Louis.
Monday afternoon, the state police inspected the vehicle looking for any signs of mechanical problems.
The surviving animals were taken to the Greenville Livestock Auction, not for sale, but for safekeeping.
“It is warm outside and they have been through a heck of a ride and the best thing to do with them is just leave them be and let them do their own thing, said J.R. Hugo, owner of the auction house.
“We are waiting for the owner to get back in contact with us about what he wants to do with them and until then we are going to leave them on their own and let them do their own thing,” Hugo said.
The three passengers in the car that was sideswiped were from Cahokia. Two had minor injuries, one of them a seven month old. The driver of the truck, 43-year-old Billy Hollar from Ewing, Ky., was fine but a 14-year-old girl believed to be his daughter was treated for minor injuries. The driver was cited for improper lane usage.
Video: Cow Breaks Loose on Highway
Cattle had to be transferred from the flipped truck onto another truck so they could be taken to their destination.
Traffic was backed up for miles for hours.