Wednesday, July 5, 2006

140 sheep killed in accident

Market lambs die in truck crash east of Carey

Express Staff Writer

Some 140 fattened lambs headed from Lava Lake Ranch to market in Colorado were killed Saturday morning when a truck driver hauling 380 of the animals lost control of his trailer east of Carey.

Blaine County Sheriff's Lt. Ron Taylor said the accident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. on U.S. Highway 93 about six miles east of Carey. He said the driver of the semi truck, 26-year-old Weston Hejtmanek, of Howe, apparently rounded a corner too fast. The trailer slid off the road, became disconnected from the tractor, flipped on its side and slid along the roadway before coming to a stop, Taylor said.

Taylor said that more than 100 lambs were killed outright, and other injured animals had to be destroyed.

According to the accident report, Hejtmanek was not injured. Taylor said no citations had been issued as of Monday, but the accident was still being investigated.

The truck, owned by May's Land and Livestock, picked up the lambs earlier that morning at Lava Lake Ranch near Carey.

Ranch manager Colleen Richards said the fattened animals were being hauled to market in Greeley, Colo. She said the accident occurred only six or seven miles away from the ranch.

Richards said the carcasses were initially hauled to the Carey landfill, but were later hauled to a rendering plant, most likely in Burley.

She said the lambs weighed an average of about 130 pounds each and were sold at about $1 per pound, which would put the loss in livestock at just over $18,000. Richards said the lambs were insured.

Damage to the semi truck and trailer was estimated at $30,000, Taylor said.

The Carey Fire and Quick Response Department assisted at the accident scene and cleaned up spilled fuel.

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