Overturned semi hog-ties canyon traffic
Motorists stuck in Glenwood Canyon just behind a horde of hogs and the overturned semi that was carrying them were stranded on westbound Interstate 70 for hours Monday afternoon and evening.
A semi truck hauling “in excess of 100 hogs” was heading west just after passing through No Name Tunnel when the driver lost control for an unknown reason, bashed into the right rail, then careened into the left barrier, said Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson. The truck flipped, landing on the passenger side, and slid about 500 feet before coming to a rest blocking both lanes at about 1:10 p.m..
The driver — the truck’s lone human occupant — was taken to Valley View Hospital and has not been identified nor was the driver’s condition known.
Several hogs were killed on impact, and others were injured.
While Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said authorities were able to start diverting traffic fairly quickly at the Hanging Lake exit some miles up the canyon, those stuck just behind the semi were there for hours.
“The challenging part is the people who were caught right behind it, because they’ve been sitting in it since 1:30 p.m.,” Trulove said, speaking at about 4:30 p.m. “We’re probably … looking at a couple more hours before we have the westbound lanes.”
Authorities opened one lane of the highway shortly after 6 p.m.; speaking several minutes before 7 p.m., Wilson said the truck was up on its 18 wheels and a second westbound lane was due to reopen “any minute.”
A veterinarian from Silt was able to examine and help euthanize the injured animals on site, while the healthy hogs were corralled and kept cool with a hose on the highway-adjacent bike path, she said.
A total of 24 or 25 hogs died altogether, according to Wilson.
While Trulove called the situation “challenging,” she credited local law enforcement and emergency agencies with their response.
“They all really got together and worked hard to keep the situation as safe as we could,” Trulove said.