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I-90 Crash Kills 18 Cattle

February 12, 2010, 5:52 PM by Nick Carbone

I-90 Crash Kills 18 Cattle
BRANDON, SD - Traffic along a short stretch of Interstate 90 near Brandon is flowing again, after part of it was shut down because of a semi accident just before 11 p.m. Thursday night. The truck's driver hit a slick patch of snow, slid off the road and tipped over.

That would normally be the end of the story, except that in this case, the semi was hauling 35 cattle.

It's not unusual for emergency rescue crews to respond to a winter accident scene expecting injuries. But what troopers didn't expect was what lives were at stake.

"This is a major operation," Highway Patrol Trooper Matthew Dennis said.

Rescue crews from across Minnehaha County had plenty of challenges trying to reach dozens of cattle trapped inside the overturned trailer.

Crews were forced to saw off the back hitch of the trailer so the cattle could escape. Other workers cleared snow around the scene so a replacement trailer could be brought in.

"We set up two small cattle pens on the side of the vehicles to make sure no cows escaped," Dennis said.

Many of the cattle didn't want to come out and others were too injured to move. But corralling the livestock was only half the battle.

"Anytime you deal with a semi with a loaded trailer and deep snow like this, it's just the weight of getting that large object out of the snow," Dennis said.

In the end, it took not one, but two tow trucks to get the trailer out of the ditch.  Only 17 cattle could be saved. Some of the more seriously injured had to be put down at the scene.

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