Cattle die after Idaho big rig crash

BOISE, Idaho — Authorities in southwest Idaho say 33 cattle worth about $30,000 died after a tractor-trailer flipped onto its side.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office initially said more than 100 cattle died in the Monday afternoon crash east of Boise but revised the number down Tuesday.

Emergency crews reached a 57-year-old passenger by cutting through the wreckage. He and the 60-year-old driver were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Authorities say the driver appeared to be going too fast around a curve, but no citations had been issued by Tuesday afternoon.

Sam Preisler of Silver Butte Holsteins, a dairy operation, said the company was shipping 120 Holstein steers about 5 months old and each weighing about 400 pounds to a feedlot in Texas where they would put on weight for another year. The tractor-trailer was operated by a contractor.

Preisler said 29 cattle died due to the crash and four had to be euthanized. The survivors became the property of an insurance company that had a representative at the scene, he said.

Sgt. Matt Steele of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy used a rifle to euthanize three of the cattle at the request of the owner. The reason for the discrepancy in the number of euthanized cattle isn’t clear.

He said a volunteer with a horse in the rural area roped two loose steers.

“That was just some citizen that was driving by and offered to use his horse,” Steele said.

Preisler said some cattle likely died due to the impact and some due to the weight of other cattle pressing down on them after the trailer tipped.

The deceased animals were collected by a company called Darling International that declined to comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Preisler said the insurance company requested that the surviving cattle be returned to Silver Butte Holsteins until the company decides what to do with them. He said the survivors looked to be in good shape.

Silver Butte Holsteins, Preisler said, retains cows for milk production but ships steers, about 1,200 a week, to various destinations, many to the Midwest.

“We didn’t lose (money) on the cattle we were selling,” he said, because they were insured. “But we lost being able to deliver the cattle to the customer. Most of our cattle are already committed to somebody. When we lose them it backs up production.”

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