Dozens of cattle killed in trailer rollover in I-17

Posted: Updated:

NEAR BLACK CANYON CITY, Ariz. -- A truck carrying cattle from Nebraska rolled over on southbound Interstate 17 near the Sunset Point Rest Area north of Black Canyon City early Friday morning, killing most of the animals.

The wreck happened at about 3 a.m. The driver, Tucker Green, apparently failed to negotiate one of the many turns along that winding segment of the freeway about a mile outside of Bumble Bee.

The trailer plowed through about 100 feet of the guard rail as it rolled and slid down a relatively steep hill.

Traffic was restricted in the area all day. For a time, the highway was completely shut down while crews worked to rescue the few surviving animals and clear the wreckage.

Two heavy wreckers and a forklift were brought in to drag the trailer -- with the cattle still on board -- up the hill to a more stable location.

Once they were finally able to get inside the trailer, crews discovered that 24 of the 37 head of cattle were killed when the trailer rolled.

Bart Graves of the Arizona Department of Public Safety said several ranchers from Yavapai County were called in to help herd the 13 surviving animals into a temporary corral set up along I-17, and then transfer them to other trailers.

DPS said one lane of southbound I-17 would be open to traffic for the rest of the day. Because the cleanup is still under way, however, the department is advising drivers to take an alternate route.

Drivers traveling from Flagstaff to the Valley have two options. They can take State Route 260 from Camp Verde to State Route 87 to the Valley. They also can take State Route 69 from Cordes Junction to Prescott, State Route 89 to Wickenburg, and U.S. 60 to the Valley.

If drivers do choose to stay on I-17, ADOT advises them to slow down as they approach the crash site near milepost 250 and to be alert for equipment and workers.

Green, 37, was not injured in the wreck. The Box Elder, S.D. man's destination was Phoenix. DPS said he will be cited for failure to control his vehicle.

Investigators are trying to determine if driver fatigue was a factor in the wreck.