Semi full of bulls crashes on I-75
Published: Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 6:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 6:44 p.m.
The crash of a semitrailer hauling 32 bulls on Interstate 75 on Saturday afternoon brought out cowboys and veterinarians along with state troopers to minimize a potentially dangerous situation.
Three of the bulls got loose and one had to be fatally shot because it was too aggressive, authorities said. The truck driver was taken to the hospital with injuries that did not appear life-threatening.
Florida Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Nick Causey said no spinoff accidents occurred despite the potential with cattle on the interstate and the difficulty with the semi.
“The semi was southbound and, from what people told us, a tire blew out. It ran onto the shoulder and into the treeline, which ripped the trailer,” Causey said. “Several of the cows got out and were along the shoulder. It could have been dangerous but there were no other accidents.”
The crash was reported about 12:15 p.m. in the southbound lanes just south of the Newberry Road interchange, and interstate traffic in both directions slowed to a crawl. Southbound traffic was halted for a while until the stray bulls were rounded up, FHP said.
FHP requested that southbound motorists exit I-75 in Alachua and take U.S. 441 south into Gainesville. FHP also blocked southbound access to I-75 at the Newberry Road interchange for several hours.
Southbound I-75 was finally clear at around 5 p.m.
Bryan Martin, 50, of Okeechobee, said he and fellow trucker Travis Carr, 20, also of Okeechobee, were hauling the bulls from Evant, Texas, to Indiantown. Carr was driving.
“I was in the sleeper and felt the truck moving around. People said (the driver) did a real good job — that he could have taken out five cars,” Martin said. “I ended up falling and (Carr) fell across me. His arms were up over him. At first I thought he was dead, but he was talking to his mama a while ago.”
Carr ended up being taken to Shands at the University of Florida with serious injuries; Martin’s injuries were minor.
Three of the bulls got loose from the trailer, said Eric Hiers, a large-animal veterinarian with Kanapaha Veterinary Services, who sedated one of the animals with a dart.
Heirs was among the animal specialists called to the scene to help. Others included Alachua County sheriff’s deputies and officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Park Service.
Hiers said one of the bulls ended up about a mile south of the accident scene.
“I had to dart one of them. They were wrangled by two cowboys. We ended up going down the road about a mile. They roped it first and I had to dart it,” Hiers said. “One of them had to be shot by the sheriff’s deputy — it was very aggressive, very dangerous. They are very gentle for the most part but in situations like this they can be very dangerous.”
A crew of people set up chutes with portable metal fences to offload the bulls that stayed in the trailer into other trailers to finish their journey.