60 pigs killed in Whaleyville truck crash

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 2, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Traffic on U.S. 13, near Whaleyville, had to be rerouted for several hours Thursday after a tractor-trailer hauling 200 pigs overturned around 7 a.m.

Clifford Gates, 41, of North Carolina was traveling north when he veered off the right side of the road to make room for a car approaching in the southbound lane, said Sgt. Michael McKenzie, a spokesman for the Suffolk Police Department. The truck hit the shoulder, soft and muddy because of recent rains, and flipped onto its side, he said.

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Gates was treated for minor injuries at the scene, McKenzie said.

About 60 pigs died instantly in the accident, he said.

Representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals arrived at the scene shortly after the accident, questioning police and a Smithfield veterinarian that had been called in on the fate of the surviving animals.

A pig recovery company from Goldsboro, N.C., was called in pick up the remaining animals.

&uot;It took them three hours to get here,&uot; McKenzie said. &uot;But once they were here, everything went well.

&uot;They knew what they were doing. They came out, put up fences, got the pigs off one truck and reloaded them on the others.&uot;

Gates was charged with reckless driving/failure to maintain proper control.