A semi truck accident Thursday morning sent an Oklahoma man to the hospital and killed from 500 to 600 small pigs bound for Iowa.


A semi truck accident Thursday morning sent an Oklahoma man to the hospital and killed from 500 to 600 small pigs bound for Iowa.
The accident occurred at 10:45 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 54 and K-61 Thursday morning. The driver of the 2000 Peterbilt semi carrying 2,350 small pigs was Terry Skeen, 57 of Midwest City, Okla. The accident kept the intersection closed for about three hours.
Skeen, who was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, was eastbound on 54 when he attempted to turn north on K-61. His load shifted and the tractor and trailer both went over on the passenger side. His speed at the corner was too fast for the existing conditions, said Kansas Highway Patrol officer Lee Rose.
The accident closed the intersection for about three hours. Kansas Department of Transportation employees directed traffic during the incident and used their trucks along side Pratt Police Department vehicles to close the intersection to traffic.
Skeen was quickly removed from the truck and Pratt County EMS transported him to Pratt Regional Medical Center. Information on his condition is unavailable.
The trailer contained 2,350 small pigs. During the entire rescue, the air was filled with the sound of frightened, injured and dying pigs. As each pig was picked up it would squeal loudly until it was placed in a rescue stock trailer.
Southwest Truck Parts first attempts to right the trailer were unsuccessful. Township 12 firefighters sprayed the pigs with water from the side and back of the overturned trailer. It was decided to remove some of the pigs and try to upright the trailer and tractor again.
Area farmers were contacted and asked to bring stock trailers to transport the pigs from the accident site to the Pratt County Fairgrounds. Trailer after trailer arrived at the scene and backed to the back of the semi trailer so the pigs could be transferred.
While the first of the pigs were unloaded from the rear of the trailer, Pratt County Emergency Services purchased some wire fencing and posts to build a makeshift pen at the side of the road in the ditch to speed up the unloading process.
Holes were cut into the top of the trailer to get more air to the pigs and provide additional access for the pigs in the top of the trailer.
A pen was constructed next to the trailer and emergency workers and volunteers joined forces to remove the pigs as quickly as possible. Hundreds of pigs were rescued from the back and top of the trailer. Once the top was empty Southwest Truck Parts was successful in getting the truck back up on its wheels. Once the truck and trailer were upright rescuers were able to unload pigs from several side doors as well as the back.
Dozens of emergency workers and volunteers helped unload and spray the pigs with water until all the live pigs were removed from the trailer. The pigs were removed to the Pratt County Fairgrounds and Xtra factors donated feed for the animals. A second semi came and too the surviving pigs to their Iowa destination.
Several badly injured pigs had to be euthanized. Once all the live pigs were removed to the fairgrounds, Southwest Truck Parts moved the semi and trailer to the north edge of the Paso Junction parking lot and volunteers removed hundreds of dead pigs from the trailer and placed them into two dump trucks.
The dead pigs were scheduled for burial at the Pratt County Land Fill. Special permission was received from Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the burial, said Mark McManaman, administrator of emergency and medical services for Pratt County.
Assisting in the rescue effort were Southwest Truck Parts, Pratt County Emergency Services, Pratt County EMS, Township 12 firefighters, Pratt Fire Department, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Department of Transportation, American Red Cross Cannon Ball Chapter, volunteer farmers and other volunteers.