HUBBARD, Ohio (WYTV) – A livestock truck overturned Wednesday and two pigs escaped, causing traffic delays on Interstate 80 in Hubbard Township.
The accident happened about 5:30 a.m. on the eastbound exit ramp from I-80 to Route 62 north in Hubbard, blocking the ramp. The ramp has since reopened after being closed for most of the day.
The accident started like so many others on the same stretch of I-80. Trooper Dubelko with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the driver was heading east when he ran off the right side of the road, struck a guardrail, and flipped over.
The truck was hauling more than 160 live hogs from the Akron area to a slaughterhouse in Pennsylvania.
While the driver walked away with minor injuries, most of the animals were trapped inside their pens in the trailer. Two of the pigs got away.
“They were right in the middle of the median, lying down, relaxing, probably stressed and traumatized beyond all belief,” said Katie Costello, a Hubbard Township resident.
Costello raises three other pigs at her home nearby. She came to the scene to help, but said the animal’s owner wanted her to leave.
“I offered to pay for them and he didn’t want me to take them, but they were a health issue or they were an issue for anybody driving down the road. The Ohio State Patrol said, ‘Take them, get them out of here,’” Costello said.
As Costello and her friends rounded up the loose animals, crews worked to off-load livestock from the trailer. A team from Countryside Veterinary Service also arrived to check on the pigs.
About 24 of the hogs died from injuries sustained in the crash and another had to be euthanized. At one point, firefighters were called to spray the animals with water to keep them from being overheated.
It took nearly 12 hours to clear the accident and move the animals. Costello said she wants to see more protocols in place so animals involved in accidents like this one don’t have to suffer as much.
“The bad thing is that we don’t have any protocols for when this sort of thing happens, so for hours those pigs sat in that overturned truck before the fire department came out and hosed them down,” Costello said.
Those that survived were trucked to a livestock auction in New Wilmington for the time being. Costello said she plans to take keep the two pigs she rescued.
“They will become our pets. They are already in my fence with my other three pigs, everybody is getting along.”
The driver, Barry Kuhn of Attica, Ohio is charged with OVI, failure to control, and a seatbelt violation. He’s scheduled to appear in Girard Municipal Court on May 2.