on Saturday 10/27/07. Taken at approximately 8:30 pm... 

(From the Bristol, Wisconsin web site; captions' text by Colleen Murphy-Fisch
green type; my additions in black type)

This photo shows the end of the trailer roof on the right. You are looking at the roof of the trailer.  (Colleen Murphy-Fisch on left.)

This picture shows some of the first downers to be pulled off. I believe one of these two horses did recover from shock and survive to get transported.  (Kendall DeRoo in blue down vest)

There was tremendous banging in the section you see the firefighters at, but they ended up having to cut all of the roof off to get to these animals.

(Note the drag boards in this photo, which were used to pull some of the downed horses away from the trailer.)

One of the babies being led onto the waiting trailers. At this point many shocky downed horses are being blanketed and attended to.

The final roof section was cut away so the next batch could be pulled out. I believe some of these were downers and some were led out. One horse you cannot see on the far right was down with a right front twisted through a hole under the trailer.  It took cutters, five of us to hold him from struggling and eventually airbags to lift the trailer and free that hoof under the trailer. The horse was close to losing that leg, but it was successfully freed. Very scary, as a horse behind him was thrashing hoof distance from our heads while we worked on that leg entrapment.  Great job by fire rescue on this. The noise was deafening as they were cutting and sawing the metal.

Inside the trailer from the rear. This was a double-decker pig/cattle trailer and is on its side here.

These are the horses in the top front section of the trailer and I believe were the last out . The photo was taken by sticking an arm through a roof vent.

I believe these were the 4th & 5th horse off the trailer. I do not believe the horse in plaid survived.

The Semi Cab

Colleen wrote this in an email to the other rescuers; Kendall copied me with it:

"Here is the information I have as of 10:43 am. Be aware that this is what I am aware of, but it may change. I was on site last night, so my story is mine....
"We had a double decker trailer overturn here last night at 41 and Wadsworth Rd in the north bound lanes adjacent to the BP station. The semi was loaded with 59 horses. 4 ponies, the rest Belgians. They appeared to be PMU (pharmaceutical estrogen production. Product: Premarin)slaughter babies. 80+% yearlings or two year olds. I will post the pictures of the accident as quickly as I can and let you know the link. We hand dragged them off the trailer, one at a time. Last count 13 dead? I will follow up with my story as soon as I have time to write more. Disgusting. Going from Shipshewana, IN to Slaughter in Canada? (although the driver said they were going to auction in MN, everyone on scene agreed they were clearly slaughter bound).
"We had six vets, Bristol Horse Country, Lake County Posse, Tempel Farm staff, and local equine professionals on scene assisting and boy were we needed! Thank god this accident happened in Chicago's Horse Country where we had the personnel to help.  Also great was the fact that the Chief Kirschoffer from Newport Fire Dept running the scene, had completed our Bristol Horse Country Equine Rescue Techniques course and a more advanced equine rescue course (Lake County Posse financed) at the horse park in KY. This meant that we had a horse trained scene commander who had vet phone numbers on his person. Training your fire/rescue dept really pays off. We had at least 5 horse rescue trained fire/paramedics on the scene last night and probably about 50 people working on the mess as a whole. Used every halter, lead, blanket and cooler I brought to the scene and there is nothing like watching horses die on your nice $300.00 Rambo blanket... Sorry to go on but it was pretty traumatic and took 3+ hours? to get them offloaded. I have never seen anything like this and I hope you never have to.  Because of good scene safety management and a LOT of cooperation by a lot of different local horse people, no people were injured rescuing as far as I know."

She wrote an update:
[The owner of the farm where they are] "is asking people to please stay away from the farm at this point. 44? Living horses were all up as of this morning and vets were there this morning. They have good hay and shelter at this point. I am told that these were PMU babies, that this was one of 4 semi trailers of no-sale horses from the Indiana auction that were headed to a MN and slaughter in Canada. I will let you know asap if donations are needed, but I am told that the insurance company is sending another trailer to pick them up and take them to the auction? If you don't want these horses tortured anymore you might want to contact every Lake County, local and State Rep. you can, to help get custody turned over to one of our Hooved Animal Humane Societies... I have been told that this was one of 4 semi loads headed to MN..."

Here is the text of an article in the the Kenosha News article in the Oct. 30, 2007

Horse owners step in to help; area volunteers join rescue effort
By Brian O'Connor,

Bristol--When the call came in Saturday night, Kendall DeRoo was at a Halloween party.

Horses were in trouble, the call said. Could they come and help?

"When something like this happens, horse people are ready," she said. "There's almost like a phone tree that goes into effect."

About half an hour later, 10 Bristol volunteers and five Bristol veterinarians were at a scene of almost unimaginable equine carnage.

Around 7:30 p.m. a tractor-trailer truck carrying a load of 59 mostly yearling and 2-year-old Belgian horses drove through a red light and struck a pickup truck, authorities say. The driver of the tractor-trailer was treated and released, while the driver of the pickup truck declined treatment, authorities said. The truck's double-decker trailer had rotated 90 degrees and rested on its side, DeRoo said.

"They had to cut away the roof to get to them, and when they got to one section, it was like a giant pile of enormous puppies," she said. "One horse's leg was on that horse's neck. The horses had been inside like that for about an hour."

Volunteers arrived on the scene about 8:30 p.m., and for about the next three hours, they worked on getting horses fitted with harnesses and lead ropes, and leading them away from the wreckage. Some horses were relatively unharmed and were led away immediately. Others were in shock and collapsed almost immediately upon getting away from the overturned trailer, DeRoo said.

"It was really incredible," she said. "People would whisper to them and call them and just be with them until they could get up."

"Something about situations like these bring out the best in human nature."

Of the collapsed horses, some were revived. Still others had to be euthanized by lethal injection, eyewitnesses said.

About 17 horses died in the wreck or were euthanized as a result of their injuries, said Kevin Nelson, a veterinarian who responded to the scene of the accident and is participating in the ongoing care of the animals at an undisclosed farm in Wadsworth.

Additional horses could be euthanized in coming days, Nelson said.

"Right now, we're trying to figure out who has jurisdiction, whether it's the owner or the insurance company, so we can see how far we can go to save these animals," he said.

Authorities aren't releasing the location of the farm where the animals are kept in order to allow the horses to recover from the stress of the accident, Nelson said.

Without the response of knowledgeable volunteers, the casualty count could have been much higher, said Bristol town supervisor Colleen Murphy-Fisch. Murphy-Fisch, a horse owner, responded to the scene of the accident.

"The number of casualties could have been a lot worse," she said. "Not only horse casualties, but firefighters could be at risk, too. You don't want to injure people trying to rescue animals."

The chief officer on the scene was trained at a Bristol safety event, and know how to handle the animals in the crash.

"They had just gotten horse rescue training about a week earlier,' DeRoo said. 'They thought they were never going to use it again."

For DeRoo, also a horse owner, the victory was bittersweet. Many of the horses pulled from the wreck bore branding marks associated with foals of animals born to mares at pregnant mare urine farms, DeRoo said.

The urine of pregnant mares is harvested for its high estrogen content and used to make products associated with hormone replacement therapy in humans. When the mares give birth, the foal is essentially viewed as a waste by-product, DeRoo said. Often, the horses are shipped to Canada, where slaughterhouses may still accept horses. U.S. slaughterhouses are prohibited from accepting horses by federal law.

"We suspect the animals were being taken to Canada for slaughter," trooper Delila Huerta, Illinois State Police, said. Authorities are still investigating the incident.

Given the animals probably destination, the accident was actually a fortunate turn of events for the horses that manage to survive.

"It's nice that they got a reprieve from the killers in Canada," DeRoo said. "I have no doubt they were essentially being culled."

Click HERE
for the Newport Township Fire Protection District Report for further information on this incident.  (This is a smaller file size version of the original for faster downloads, so photos are placed and formatted differently, but the text has not been altered.)