UPDATED, Aug. 2, 2021, 4:50 p.m.: This story has been updated with information from the Florida Highway Patrol news release.
HOLT, Fla., Aug. 2, 2021—An accident between a pickup truck and a cattle carrier caused a minor snarl on Interstate 10 late Thursday afternoon.
The accident closed a westbound traffic lane near mile marker 51 for a short period of time between 5:15 and 5:45 p.m., according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office traffic alert.
A semi with a double-decker cattle trailer was hauling about 100 heifers from Okeechobee, Fla., to Texas, and a pickup with a utility trailer in tow were both traveling in the inside lane of I-10 when the semi ran up on the trailer being towed by the truck, according to a news release by the Florida Highway Patrol.
As a result of the impact by the semi, the trailer separated from the truck and rotated off the roadway into the wood line.
After hitting the trailer, the semi driver lost control of the vehicle and continued several more feet in the emergency lane on the north shoulder of the interstate before coming to a stop. The pickup came to a rest in the median of the interstate, according to the release.
Okaloosa County EMS transported the 63-year-old driver and two passengers to the hospital with unknown injuries, according to Holt Fire District Chief Scott Chestnut who was on scene.
The 23-year-old semi driver from Iowa was unhurt in the accident.
However, the sudden shift in momentum as the driver braked the rig threw the cattle forward in the trailer and the upper forward compartment deck collapsed on top of the cattle in the lower compartment, pinning several cows underneath.
About a dozen heifers were in the forward compartment divided between the upper and lower decks.
Because the semi’s front end was damaged from the impact with the trailer, the semi and cattle trailer had to be towed from the scene. The cattle also needed to be offloaded to free those trapped in the forward compartment and checked for injuries.
Arrangements were made with Holt’s DCD Land and Cattle for the truckload of cows to be temporarily offloaded at the ranch.
The semi and trailer were hauled to DCD where the majority of the cattle were released into a temporary holding area where they could be visually assessed for injuries.
The majority of the cows appeared to be unhurt, but agitated and thirsty.
According to the semi driver, he was transporting 101 heifers.
Of those, four in the forward compartment died as a result of the crash, according to DCD owner Carol Dewrell. The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society also had to euthanize two last night.
A seventh heifer died this morning, she said.
It’s uncertain how long the cattle will remain in Holt.