MEEKER I Just before noon on Dec. 2, a cattle truck carrying 76 head of cattle purchased from Buffalo Horn Ranch overturned on a curve at the 11-mile marker of County Road 7, killing one steer outright and injuring several others.
The shipment was one of three truckloads of cattle that had been purchased by Roundup Internet Livestock Marketing of California. While the other two trucks were headed for feedlots in Craig, this truck was reportedly en route to Exeter, California.
The truck left Buffalo Horn Ranch, located three miles north of the scene of the accident, and was headed toward Meeker when the accident occurred, according to Tim Claypoole, a representative of Roundup Market who was on the scene. The truck came to rest on its right side.
The California driver, identified as Rogelio Castillo, was uninjured except for a minor cut on his arm.
“I felt the cattle shifting before the truck rolled over,” he said.
After taking skid mark measurements, Colorado State Patrol officer M.A. Valasquez, stated that Castillo would likely be cited for excessive speed although no felony charges will be brought.
Firefighters, aided by a few ranch hands, had to use axes and a power saw to chop holes in the top and bottom of the trailer to free the cattle.
One animal was killed in the accident and three others were injured badly enough they had to be euthanized. The rest were safely freed without further incident and were driven from the scene by cowboys on horseback.
Claypoole said, “We could lose a few more (cattle) from damage to the liver and kidneys,” a common problem that is the result of force and trauma in an accident. “We will just have to wait and see over the next few days,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time this kind of accident has occurred.”
Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff said at the scene that there was a positive side to the incident.
After Claypoole’s assurance that the meat from the dead animals could still be salvaged as hamburger, Woodruff said, “I would be glad to pay for the processing so we could use the meat at the jail.”
And he did.