13 horses killed in crash on I-44; others survived


WASHINGTON, Mo. – A tractor trailer carrying 29 horses flipped on WB I-44 in Franklin County last night. Thirteen of the horses died or had to be euthanized.  Due to the severity of their injuries, two of the horses were euthanized at the scene and another two were euthanized at the veterinary hospital. 

Of the surviving 16 horses, 11 were transported to the Humane Society’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch. There the horses are suffering from shock, deep skin leg abrasions and lacerations, head and eye trauma, and back injuries. They are scheduled to be examined by a veterinarian today, and will be under the care of Longmeadow until further notice.

The other four, seriously injured horses are under care at Homestead Veterinary Hospital. The horses will remain at the hospital until they are stable enough to be transported to Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.

“Missouri’s animals are very fortunate to have dedicated, highly skilled, experienced people across multiple organizations who can come to the rescue in dangerous emergency situations like this,” said Debbie Hill, vice president of operations, Humane Society of Missouri.  “Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, MERS and Homestead Veterinary Hospital have partnered on multiple occasions to help animals in jeopardy. We are also grateful to the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Boles Fire Department for responding so professionally to this tragic situation.”

It happened just west of the Washington exit around 8:15 pm Sunday. The Boles Fire Department, Missouri Highway Patrol, the MERS Large Animal Rescue, Homestead Veterinary Service’s and the Missouri Humane Society were called out to assist with the rescue.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is still working on its crash report but it appears the tractor-trailer flipped into the median.

Bill Schmidt with MERS Large Animal Rescue tells FOX2 his crew of nine were on the scene until 3:15 a.m.

The horses were removed with help from pull ropes from the fire department. Every horse needed a halter to be removed from the vehicle.

Schmidt says shortly after the accident, 3 horses escaped and were eventually found by the Highway Patrol west of the exit on HWY 100.

MERS Large Animal Rescue posted on Facebook that the Humane Society of Missouri Investigator and Veterinarian evaluated and transported the loose horses.

The crews created two areas or pens, one to contain animals as they were loaded off the back of the trailer, and the other for triage.

 The reason the animals were being transported on 44 has not been confirmed.   

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