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Truck carrying 135 cows crashes on Irwin off-ramp

Four calves died and more than a hundred others were placed in a temporary corral after a truck carrying livestock crashed on an off-ramp near Irwin, according to Pennsylvania Turnpike officials.

The driver of the truck was not injured after crashing around 5:30 a.m., turnpike officials said.

The truck hit the median and jackknifed as it was exiting the turnpike. It was carrying 135 calves.

Part of the double-decker trailer’s second level collapsed, injuring animals on the bottom level, said Lori Mozina, chief coordinator of the Westmoreland/Fayette/Allegheny County Animal Response Team.

First responders set up a corral to hold the cows until the trucking company, which could not be identified, sent another truck to pick up the 127 uninjured calves and take them to their destination in Ohio, Mozina said.

Three Allegheny Equine Associates veterinarians checked the animals one by one, she said.

Four calves were injured and taken to Allegheny Equine for further treatment.

The ramp was briefly closed, but reopened before 6 a.m. All calves were out of the corral shortly after 9 a.m.

Crashes like this are rare, but not unheard of, Mozina said. Many trucks carrying livestock travel through this area.

“It can happen, especially in bad weather,” she said.

There are many ways in which this incident could have been more difficult to deal with, Mozina said.

“We were lucky these were little, easy-to-manage calves, not big black Angus cows,” she said.

Responders also were fortunate the crash happened on an exit ramp, with the wreckage quickly towed off the road. If it had happened on the main turnpike, it might have caused much more serious traffic delays, Mozina said.

She thanked turnpike workers who corralled the cows before animal response volunteers arrived. Some of the turnpike workers are farmers, she said. “They knew how to handle the animals already.”

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