Crash Leaves Cattle Stranded on Truck Along Snake River in Washington

Cattle being hauled from Canada to a packing plant in Washington crashed less than 9 miles from their destination in an event police called a “spontaneous carnival ride.” ( Pasco Police Department )

A semi-truck and trailer hauling fed cattle from Canada to a packing plant in Washington went off the road trying to avoid another vehicle and resulted in nearly a day’s delay for the cattle.

The Pasco Police Department shared on their Facebook page the events of a crash next to the Snake River in Washington. On Feb. 4, at 4:43 PM, a “spontaneous carnival ride started” for the semi transporting fed cattle to the Tyson Foods packing plant in Wallula. The truck originated from Canada with a load of fed cattle traveling Highway 12.

Upon arriving at the intersection of Highway 12 and Sacajawea Park Road, the semi came upon a white Chevy Cruze that was attempting to turn left from Highway 12 across the median onto southbound Sacajawea Park Road.

Conditions were slick as it was snowing at the time, which police say made the turn even more difficult than normal. The Chevy Cruze could not navigate the left turn immediately and it left the vehicle “crawling out of the median” when the semi arrived.

“The Bovine Express had no way to stop in time after the Cruze emerged onto the eastbound lanes in front of it. The driver moved left into the median, went down the steep embankment, bounced hard over the railway at the bottom, and came to a stop almost literally hanging over the water,” the Pasco Police’s post reads.

The police did not report any injuries to the semi driver or the cattle.

The cattle had to wait until Tuesday morning before they could be unloaded because they were last inspected in Canada at the border crossing. Upon coming across the port of entry the trailer was sealed by USDA, which meant the cattle had to have a USDA inspector present before the trailer was opened again.

Eventually the cattle were unloaded and driven on foot up the embankment where they were loaded onto another trailer to be taken to their destination at the packing plant. The crash occurred just 8.5 miles from the Tyson facility.

Below is a map showing the remaining drive for the cattle after the crash:

The incident was handled by the Pasco Police because the Washington State Police were busy with other car wrecks in the area. Assisting with the crash was the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office. The driver of the Chevy Cruze could face a potential infraction for causing the crash.

The Tri-City Herald reports, that the Washington state Department of Ecology was at the scene the day after the crash to check on diesel that spilled from the two “saddle” under the truck. The tanks had ruptured and can hold up to 140 gallons.

There was a slight sheen on the river and an oil containment boom was placed in the water. At a later time the soil on the bank will be dug up and removed, say state officials. 

The semi-truck and trailer will likely remain on top of the railroad for some time near the Snake River, according to Pasco Police.

Below is a video of the cattle being unloaded from the semi a day after the crash: