OF SEMI-TRAILER ACCIDENT AT 41 & Wadsworth, Wadsworth, IL,
on Saturday 10/27/07. Taken at approximately 8:30 pm...
(From the Bristol, Wisconsin web site;
captions' text by Colleen Murphy-Fisch
in 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
(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
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
"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.
Horse owners step in to help; area volunteers
join rescue effort
By Brian O'Connor, email@example.com
Bristol--When the call came in Saturday night, Kendall DeRoo was at a
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
"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."
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.)