Semi plows into elk herd on I-70
Rocky Mountain News
Aspen, CO Colorado
EVERGREEN, Colo. ” A semitruck slammed into a herd of elk on Interstate 70 early Friday morning, triggering a car rollover and shutting eastbound lanes near Evergreen.
Sixteen elk were killed in the grisly accident that jackknifed the smashed big rig near Beaver Brook Drive.
Highway workers and fire crews used snowplows and water-and-sand trucks to clear the carnage and clean the roadway.
“I saw on-scene picture and it looked like a massacre … very nasty, nasty scene,” a listener posted on ScanAmerica.us, a website for people who monitor police and fire radio traffic.
The eastbound lanes were closed from 1:17 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.
No humans were injured.
“I can’t recall ever hearing anything like this,” said Stacey Stegman, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, referring to the large number of elk killed.
“There are elk-crossing signs at this location, ironically,” she said.
Evergreen Fire/Rescue was one of two fire agencies that responded with water trucks to hose the gore off the roadway.
“It was pretty gross,” said Christy McCormick, Evergreen fire dispatch supervisor.
“They said that semi really took the brunt of the impact. It pretty much caved in the semi, because of the impact of that large of a herd,” she said. “There was carnage all along the side of the truck.”
Evergreen motorists and first-responders are used to the large, local elk herds ignoring right-of-way rules when it comes to crossing roads.
“When elk move in mass like that basically traffic comes to stop, because elk don’t hurry,” McCormick said of herds renown for clogging Evergreen Parkway and other thoroughfares.
“People sometimes honk their horns, but elk don’t hurry. They just kind look at you,” she added.
But during her seven years with the fire agency, the second worst elk-vehicle collision she recalls was about six elk being killed three years ago.
“Everybody was just amazed as far as how horrible it was (during the earlier elk kill) and this was more than twice as many,” McCormack added.
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