Fatal crash releases dozens of pigs on HWY 99

March 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
That fatal accident shut down portions of Highway 99 in the South Valley Saturday morning.

The 85-year-old driver of a pickup truck slammed into a big rig, which then released about a dozen pigs onto the road. It happened north of Goshen Avenue near the Avenue 328 overpass. Highway 99 in that area was partially or completely shut down for nearly four hours. The crash happened in a construction zone.

And the most difficult part was handling the swine that got loose on the road after the crash. Many had to be put down. A green Dodge pickup truck became entangled with the trailer it was towing. The driver died at the scene and the swine in the trailer was either severely injured or killed.

CHP Sgt. Rodney Kennedy said, "The front of the truck buckled, the front of the trailer bucked over the top of the back of the truck. It's just a very unfortunate incident."

Traffic along the northbound lanes backed up for miles. Investigators are still trying to figure what lead up to the crash.

"For unknown reasons the big rig and traffic in front of the big rig had slowed. The driver of the pickup did not slow," Kennedy said.

Damage to the trailer looks minimal. The big rig's driver was not injured in the crash. Investigators say just looking at the damage to the pickup truck it appears the driver did now slow down and hit the trailer at freeway speeds.

Paul Garcia Of Tulare County Animal Control said, "They were out on the freeway here so we euthanized them, pulled them back on this side. Like i said, we're going to see what we can salvage in the back of the trailer, the other ones that are pretty beat up, and we're going to have to euthanize them also."

Cal-trans contractors working in the area assisted the CHP. They used this large construction equipment to move k-rails in order to get the wreck off the road and help clear the traffic.

The 85-year-old driver was from Tulare. He has not been identified.


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