Driver okay, but five cattle severely injured
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Highway 61 traffic was halted for about three hours last Wednesday after a cattle truck overturned.
Lying on its side across the road, seven miles north of Imperial, north/south traffic had to be stopped and rerouted around rural side roads. The highway was closed for three hours.
Luckily, the 56-year-old driver carrying 34 fat cattle sustained just bumps and bruises.
However, five of the cattle sustained severe injuries, according to Chase County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Dukes.
Neil Worrell of Altoona, Kan., was traveling south on Highway 61, driving for Smith Bros. Trucking of Kansas, and had just picked up the 34 head at Imperial Beef, enroute to a packer in Dodge City, Kan.
He told the deputy he had a coughing attack, which caused him to cross into the north-bound lane and shoulder on the east side of the highway.
When he attempted to recover, the cattle shifted causing the truck to lay over on the driver’s side.
Deputy Dukes said Worrell was fortunate he didn’t go further beyond the shoulder as there is a very steep drop-off at the accident site.
The driver was able to get out of his 2004 Peterbilt semi-tractor on his own, Dukes was told by another Smith Bros. driver right behind Worrell.
He was taken to Chase County Community Hospital by Imperial EMS, and released after an examination, Dukes said. He suffered a severe head contusion and complained of other soreness, he added.
It was quite the ordeal getting the animals out of the overturned trailer.
Imperial Beef personnel were contacted about the accident, and came to the scene with several employees and cattle panels to help in removing the cattle from the trailer, the deputy said.
Several cattle exited the trailer from the rear once the door was opened. Due to the partitions inside the trailer that were unable to be opened, however, the rest had to escape through a section of the trailer’s top, once it was cut open with jaws equipment from the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department.
The cattle were herded out of the trailer east into the Maddux-owned pasture.
The five cattle suffering broken legs or other injuries had difficulty getting out of the trailer. Later, Imperial Beef made arrangements to take the animals back to the feedlot about four miles north of the accident, and made arrangements for their removal.
Three of them had to be put down and were picked up by a rendering truck. Two others, able to walk on their own, were taken to Grant Packing.
Deputy Dukes said there was no indication of alcohol as a factor in the accident. No citations were issued.
The trailer may be partially salvageable, he added, but the tractor was believed to be totalled. Sinner’s Body Shop of Wauneta hauled the truck away.
The IVFD and Imperial Police Department helped reroute traffic during the time the highway was closed.