Pigs involved in truck accident

T-L Photos/JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH The cab of a tractor-trailer rests beneath the trailer of another semi-truck that it struck from behind on Interstate 70 east at St. Clairsville early Tuesday. Despite the condition of the trucks, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said no one was seriously injured in the crash.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Interstate 70 eastbound was closed for several hours Tuesday after two tractor-trailers and a Jeep collided, trapping dozens of pigs inside one of the trucks.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Joe Weaver said traffic on I-70 east was stopped at about 8:15 a.m. when the driver of the truck hauling the livestock failed to assure clear distance ahead and struck the rear of another semi-truck. The collision pushed the truck that had been stopped in traffic into a Jeep that was stopped on the entrance ramp at the 216 exit.

The driver of the livestock truck and the driver of the Jeep both were transported to Wheeling Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, Weaver said.

Some of the pigs, however, were injured in the crash, and some died. Specific numbers of dead and injured animals were not available Tuesday, although it was estimated that the truck was hauling a total of 160 pigs.

Dawn Montag of Rafter M Arena near Belmont and local farmer Kevin Porterfield brought their livestock trailers to the scene to haul away pigs that survived the crash.

When the wreck occurred, the cab of the truck became disconnected from the livestock trailer, which slid partially over a steep embankment. Because of the angle the trailer, many of the pigs appeared to have slid to the front of the trailer, leaving them piled on top of each other. One could hear the scared and injured pigs squealing inside the trailer, which had holes to allow for air to flow in and out.

Porterfield said the pigs were taken to a sale barn in Barnesville to wait and be cared for while their owner arranges or them to be transported away.

“The ones we got out were in pretty good shape,” Porterfield said, noting he did not know how many pigs survived.

The pigs apparently were headed to slaughter when the accident occurred. While waiting to help load the pigs from one truck to another, Montag estimated that each animal probably weighed about 300 pounds. Because it was expected that the surviving pigs would be difficult to handle, plywood was brought to the scene to create barriers to guide the pigs from one truck to another.

The accident occurred near the interchange with Ohio 9 at exit 216. Traffic was backed up in the eastbound lanes for about 8 miles and was being rerouted onto U.S. 40 at exit 215.

In addition to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cumberland Trail Fire District also responded to the scene.