Semi carrying pigs rolls in Gorge

ALERT: This report includes details and visual material that may not be appropriate for all viewers. Discretion is advised.

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — A semitractor-trailer hauling livestock southbound on Interstate 15 to the Los Angeles area crashed into a barrier, tearing the truck’s trailer open and throwing pigs into the roadway Monday afternoon.

Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturns in Interstate 15, Mojave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturns on Interstate 15, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District responded to the incident at 3 p.m. MST, 4 p.m. MDT, in the Virgin River Gorge near Arizona milepost 16.

The driver told emergency responders that he felt the truck lift into the air as it went over onto its left-hand side, Fire Chief Jeff Hunt said.

A spring hanger apparently fractured on the truck’s front as it made its way up a hill with a sharp right turn, Hunt said.

The trailer hit the barrier that divides the northbound and southbound lanes of the interstate, taking out about 150 to 200 yards of glare screen.

The trailer tore open while skidding along the barrier, Hunt said. No other vehicles were involved. About 30 of the 172 pigs were thrown or fell from the trailer.

“The driver actually got off with virtually no injuries,” Hunt said.

The driver of the semi was initially examined by EMS and complained of a sore leg. He refused transport and further medical attention and instead helped round up pigs.

Pigs wandered about on the interstate on both northbound and southbound lanes, seemingly dazed and confused about their newfound predicament.

Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturned in Interstate 15, Mojave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturned on Interstate 15, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Several dead and dying pigs lay along the roadway, bloodied and twitching. A pile of carcasses created a bottleneck where some pigs were able to escape the overturned trailer.

“I’m going to guess two-thirds of the pigs survived. Not as many dead as I thought there would be,” Hunt said.

Local ranchers arrived on scene to volunteer with cleanup and pig herding.

“They understand this kind of stuff,” Hunt said of the ranchers. “That’s not my forte so they’re taking care of the animals for us.”

“Pigs are like herding chickens, they’ don’t herd very well,” Tilman Hafen, one of the volunteer ranchers, said.

Hafen’s wife witnessed the crash and was the first to call emergency services.

“She was coming northbound and saw the truck tip over and the trailer hit the median, and it opened up like a can of beans and pigs were just falling out and hitting the ground,” Hafen said.

The ranchers did their best to respond compassionately to the pigs, allowing survivors to calm down before corralling them into trailers for temporary transport. They also attempted to create a visual barrier using their trucks to block the public’s view of the strewn animal carcasses.

Mohave County Sheriff’s Office directed northbound traffic along the gravel shoulder through which the traffic bottleneck ended.

Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturned in Interstate 15, Mojave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Emergency crews and volunteer ranchers clean up after a semi hauling pigs overturned on Interstate 15, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

As cars passed by, some people were visibly disturbed by the carnage, averting their eyes or in some cases audibly crying.

Two wreckers worked in tandem to pull the overturned semi, which was stuck on the barrier and wrapped in glare screen in accordion-like fashion.

Southbound traffic on Interstate 15 was closed several miles ahead of the crash for several hours. Three to four miles of traffic was backed up behind the road closure.

Northbound traffic was restricted to one lane of traffic a few miles south of the incident, but flowed with little delay.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Division and Arizona Department of Transportation also responded to the incident.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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54 Comments

  • Scarlet October 17, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Terrible, I feel so bad for the pigs!!! Pigs are very smart and can be trained just like a dog. They stuff those pig trucks, double decker style and some die in transport. You better believe that still gets sold for meat, dead or alive. The pigs teeth are pulled and they have only been fed slop. I hate hate hate to see the pigs trucks, it just makes me super sad. I wont eat the bacon either, I like pigs too much to eat them. Pigs wobbling around with bloody legs on the gravel, the most freedom they have ever had. Poor little piggies. 🙁

  • debbie October 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    very sad. it appears it turned over and dragged the cement barrier a pretty long ways looking at the bunched up fencing.. poor piggies never stood a chance.. praise God and car wasn’t under the trailer and the driver was ok.. i was at first thinking the back doors should have been opened and the pigs should have been let out so they were smothering each other… but after looking at how much fencing it tookout i would imagine its horrible gruesome inside and not very many survived.. i would hope any that survived get a free life pass somewhere.. maybe even let them go in the gorge.. just doesn’t seem right to kill them if they survived that.

    • .... October 18, 2016 at 5:51 am

      Uh Debbie I don’t think so. This isn’t California

      • Mary October 18, 2016 at 11:46 pm

        Uh actually, it says they were being transported to the L A area. More than likely it was to Farmer John’s slaughterhouse where each working day over 10,000 pigs are murdered.

        • ladybugavenger October 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm

          It’s called bacon. I love bacon and pot roast….murder on peeps I like the pork

        • .... October 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm

          10.000 pigs a day being slaughtered ? well that’s cuz they need to make more Footballs for the NFL

    • Darlene October 20, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Animals do not belong to us. They were not put on this earth for us to eat or to exploit. We can do better and we SHOULD do better. If you are OK with causing animals unspeakable suffering in order to wallow in bacon, then by all means, continue to do so.

      • RealMcCoy October 21, 2016 at 10:16 am

        My animals belong to me. Some are pets, some feed me. My chickens do both. The pigs are basically pets until one day they are not.
        We DO have dominion over animals, and they are here for us to eat.
        You wont find a wild tofubeast wandering in the woods, but you will find a deer.
        You wont find a herd of curry in the fields, but you will that cows are quite tasty when grilled.
        And that honey you drizzle into everything- bee exploitation. How DARE you!

  • St. G October 18, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Thanks ranchers and others for your help to minimize the suffering. And pigs, thank you for your delicious sacrifice.

    • Jessica October 18, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      They don’t want to be “sacraficed.” They shouldn’t be thanked, they need to be saved.

      • .... October 18, 2016 at 11:43 pm

        Mmmmm road side bacon special !!!!

  • Common Sense October 18, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Hey St. G. News. Perhaps a little disclaimer about dead pig body pictures and blood would be appreciated. Super sad. I feel like you guys are really milking the graphic and descriptive details of the poor pigs unfortunate deaths.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic October 18, 2016 at 7:10 am

      At the top of the report and included at the top of the post on Facebook: ALERT: This report includes details and visual material that may not be appropriate for all viewers. Discretion is advised.

      I hope that helps, the images convey the reality.

      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

    • .... October 18, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Ha ha No Common Sense you got told ! ☆☆☆☆☆ 5 STARS FOR THE EDITOR !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • native born new mexican October 18, 2016 at 9:20 am

      It’s dead pigs not people. We butchered every year when I was growing up. We also went deer hunting and had to take care of the dead deer carcass. This sort of thing is part of life. There is nothing wrong with the pictures. People in our society have become too far removed from life in real world. Chickens poop on their eggs. Sheep and goats stink really bad and dead animals bleed and look like they are dead when you kill them so you can eat them.

      • Summer October 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm

        Native born idiot. Congrats.

      • RealMcCoy October 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm

        I don’t see dead pigs. I see sunbathing pigs, stretched out and relaxing in the sun.

        • .... October 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm

          I don’t see dead pigs I see sun bathing future bacon. .mmmmmmmmm baconnnnnnnn

          • Mary October 18, 2016 at 11:49 pm

            I see keyboard warriors with heart attacks waiting to happen.

          • Real Life October 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

            Forgive him Mary, for he know not. It’s the many, many, years of pill abuse talking.

        • .... October 19, 2016 at 5:32 pm

          Don’t mind RealLowlife he has trouble handling his anger issues.

        • .... October 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm

          Mary I see keyboard warriors that really don’t care what you think. mmmmmmmmm baconnnnnnnn !

          • Darlene October 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm

            I care, Mary. Of course I wouldn’t call myself a “keyboard warrior”. Unlike many of the people posting, I actually have a life, one in which the statement “I love animals” actually has some depth to it because it means “I love animals enough that I don’t eat their bodies or what belongs to them, attend entertainment that exploits them, and don’t wear their skins or furs”. I also don’t support research that uses animals.

          • RealMcCoy October 21, 2016 at 10:12 am

            Darlene, it is people like you that exploit bees and their colonies.
            Think of the bees!
            Colony Collapse!
            Your ilk are making bees work overtime, with no Union breaks!
            HAVE YOU NO SOUL?!?

  • sagemoon October 18, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Poor pigs. I am grateful for the kindness of the local ranchers who came out to help with the animals.

    • Ty October 18, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      If the local ranchers really did care about the animals, I would suggest they stop breeding/confining them for life/ and killing them. None of us need to eat dead animals. None of this suffering and death is necessary.

      • RealMcCoy October 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Correction- SOME of us need to eat dead animals. Your food can be plants; my food will eat plants.
        Shame on you for relying on the slave labor of bees to keep you fed.
        #beeslivesmatter
        #plantlivesmatter
        #bacon

        • Jessica October 18, 2016 at 5:23 pm

          Humans thrive on plants. Eating all plants helps cure diseases and even cancer, on the contrary meat and dairy leads to disease and cancer. And if anyone truly cares about the plants lives they would learn that animals eat most of the plants and use tons of water to be bred and killed for food.

        • Mary October 18, 2016 at 11:51 pm

          Yes, those of us that keep the pharmaceutical companies thriving and laughing to the bank.

        • Darlene October 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm

          I don’t eat honey. Vegans don’t eat honey.

          • RealMcCoy October 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

            Why are you exploiting your dog (which you don’t own) in your picture?

      • .... October 18, 2016 at 6:38 pm

        Slop them porters up on the table It’s breakfast time

    • .... October 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      Dang Tweekers LOL !

  • Oceansize October 18, 2016 at 9:11 am

    While I totally agree with “Common Sense” about the number of pix, better too many, than too few. As far as the comment from “….” about this not being California. You ain’t kidding bro. If it was I’d be typing this from the beach on another perfect day. Instead I’m surrounded on all sides by dirt that nothing grows in, while I hide from the constant wind and brutal sun. St. George is exactly like California in some ways though: lots of Californians have moved here, SG now has all the same problems California has, and locals can’t afford to stay here any longer.

  • Ron October 18, 2016 at 9:29 am

    #PIGLIVESMATTER…..for bacon.

  • Ellen October 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Screw you, meat eaters.

    • .... October 18, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Screw you. pig lover

      • Real Life October 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm

        Look out, Dumpster is on a roll! Gotta be uppers this week. Last week it was definetly downers.

        • .... October 18, 2016 at 11:47 pm

          Awww you poor little thing. did I hit a nerve. ! God bless you my fellow brethren

    • 42214 October 18, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      I have a good idea what you like to eat Ellen.

      • Mary October 18, 2016 at 11:53 pm

        Yes, and sex is natural, eating meat is NOT!

        • 42214 October 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm

          Mary, what a naughty girl. I was thinking veggies.

        • 42214 October 19, 2016 at 7:49 pm

          As far as natural, I’m pretty sure early man relied on hunting and fishing for food long before agriculture was discovered. What say you Miss Mary.

    • Ron October 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Ellen….

      #MEATEATERSLIVESMATTER
      #PIGLOVERSLIVESMATTER

  • Ray October 18, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    A world without compassion is a very dangerous one. A country where a package of bacon is as cheap as a bottle of water is wrong in some many levels. People try to argue by saying pigs are very intelligent creatures; indeed, they are, but if they were not, if they were very dumb would that give us the right to treat them like commodity? Other people here brag about hunting as if hunting with a firearm is something natural, and also it can justify this horrible accident. The disconnection, the lack of empathy is tremendous. Yes, for the person who said “PigsLivesMatter don’t all lives matter?

    • Mary October 18, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      Ray, I always like to think of karma as the almighty equalizer, hence all the diseases we struggle with.

  • Amy October 19, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Stop eating Animals!!! This is horrific suffering, day in and day out UNNATURAL and abusive— this might be the most those pigs ever walked on the earth- but all they felt was more concrete and gravel- they just missed the sunlight, they weren’t lucky enough to crash near grass… Note the quote, ” They also attempted to create a visual barrier using their trucks to block the public’s view of the strewn animal carcasses.”— why?? If you aren’t willing to look at animals in the eyes as they suffer heart attacks, seizures, have diahrea, foam at the mouth and bleed to death then you have no business putting that crime scene of filth and sorrow into your body-! Into your mouth? What if these were dogs (Google China and Korean dog meat slaughterhouses) would that make you feel for these innocent ones? They are innocent and didn’t deserve hell on earth. The world is going vegan. It’s the only way. Please watch Cowspiracy and prepare to be shocked with facts…

    • RealMcCoy October 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      We raise our own pigs. They have a long, happy life….and then one bad day.
      It’s a totally natural circle of life event, and very natural to eat meat. You have ‘canine’ teeth for a reason, you know, and it’s not to clamp down on a carrot…

      • Darlene October 20, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        Our canine teeth are totally rudimentary. If we were actually designed to eat meat, we’d be eating raw meat like wolves. That’s not what we do. We have options today but we choose not to utilize them because there’s a lot of money in raising animals. Eating meat is not natural, it’s not normal, and it’s not necessary.

        • RealMcCoy October 21, 2016 at 10:38 am

          Incorrect, and tofu is not normal.
          I do like a good tofu recipe, but tofu was never a ‘normal’ food.
          We are OMNIvores- like bears, like dogs, like seals and otters, like a lot of animals.
          We CAN eat raw meat, we just PREFER to cook it. Much like tofu eaters PREFER it cooked.
          Don’t bash on ‘meat eaters’ just because you have a personal lifestyle choice.
          Yes, animals should be treated humanely, but food is food, and we aren’t tearing a live animal apart as we eat it (like a wolf).

  • Joe October 19, 2016 at 9:41 am

    #PigLivesMatter……..BACON Matters! All the Peta idiots come out of the woodwork here……..these little piggies were headed to market….If you don’t like this reality…then don’t look at the photos !! get a life !!

  • Bob October 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    u know as horrid as factory farming is, it’s not going to change any time soon. i’m not a huge fan of pork and will prob give up bacon just cuz im giving up cured meats

  • .... October 20, 2016 at 8:25 am

    ANIMAL EATER LIVES MATTER !!!!

  • Ron October 20, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Miss Piggy approved this article.

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