24 cattle killed as I-17 wreck clogs traffic

Two dozen cattle were killed after a trailer overturned on Interstate 17 southbound near Sunset Point early Friday morning and led to an eight-hour highway closure that clogged traffic heading toward the Valley.At 3:05 a.m., Tucker Green, 37, of Box Elder, S.D., was driving a tractor-trailer rig carrying 37 head of cattle when he lost control while driving southbound on I-17 one mile north of the Bumble Bee exit and struck a guardrail, causing the trailer to overturn on the highway, said Bart Graves, DPS spokesman. Interstate 17 remained closed for more than eight hours as DPS officers, ADOT crews and local ranchers helped to transfer the cattle out of the overturned trailer and into other trailers brought to the scene. Twenty-four cattle died in the collision inside the trailer, and 13 survived.Southbound I-17 re-opened around 5 p.m. on Friday but intermittent closures throughout the night and into Saturday were expected as ADOT cleared the site at Milepost 252.Green, the owner/operator of the vehicle, will be cited for failure to control his vehicle. DPS Commercial Vehicle officers have not ruled out fatigue as a cause of the wreck, Graves said.Green, who was not injured in the collision, told officers he was traveling from Oshkosh, Neb., to Phoenix, Graves said.UPDATE: 4:50 p.m., Friday:Southbound I-17 will have intermittent closures throughout Friday night and into Saturday as Arizona Department of Transportation crews try to remove an overturned cattle truck south of Sunset Point at Milepost 252.I-17 southbound should open at approximately 5 p.m. Friday, said Bart Graves, DPS spokesman. After that, only the left lane will be open until further notice and there may be additional closures tonight and tomorrow, Graves said.The Arizona Department of Public Safety reopened one lane of I-17 heading southbound around 1:30 p.m. after an overturned cattle trailer killed two dozen cattle and closed the road for more than eight hours.At 3:05 a.m., Tucker Green, 37, of Box Elder, S.D., was driving a tractor-trailer rig carrying 37 head of cattle when he lost control while driving southbound on I-17 one mile north of the Bumble Bee exit and struck a guardrail, causing the trailer to overturn on the highway, Graves said.Interstate 17 remained closed for more than eight hours as DPS officers, ADOT crews, and local ranchers helped to transfer the cattle out of the overturned trailer and into other trailers brought to the scene. Twenty-four cattle died in the collision inside the trailer, and 13 survived."One lane southbound will remain open for the rest of the day as crews remove animal carcasses from the scene," Graves said. "We advise drivers to use alternate routes to avoid southbound I-17."Green, the owner/operator of the vehicle, will be cited for failure to control his vehicle, and DPS Commercial Vehicle officers have not ruled out fatigue as a cause of this collision, Graves said.Green, who was not injured in the collision, told officers he was traveling from Oshkosh, Neb., to Phoenix, Graves said.Tonight through Saturday morning, crews will continue to clear the scene and make repairs. Drivers heading southbound on I-17 towards Phoenix should plan on delays and anticipate extra travel time or consider postponing their trip to the Valley, Graves said.If motorists decide not to wait out the closure, ADOT is advising drivers to take one of two detours:• State Route 260 from Camp Verde to State Route 87 to the Valley.• State Route 69 from Cordes Junction to Prescott, State Route 89 to Wickenburg, and US 60 to the Valley. ADOT advises drivers to slow down as they approach the crash site and to be alert for equipment and workers.For the latest conditions on I-17 and other highways around the state, visit www.az511.gov or call 511.ORIGINAL REPORT:The Arizona Department of Public Safety has reopened one lane of I-17 heading southbound this afternoon after an overturned cattle trailer killed two dozen cattle and closed the road for more than eight hours.At 3:05 a.m., Tucker Green, 37, of Box Elder, S.D., was driving a tractor-trailer rig carrying 37 head of cattle when he lost control while driving southbound on I-17 one mile north of the Bumble Bee exit and struck a guardrail causing the trailer to overturn on the highway, said Bart Graves, DPS spokesman.Interstate 17 remained closed for more than eight hours as DPS officers, Arizona Department of Transporation crews, and local ranchers helped to transfer the cattle out of the overturned trailer and into other trailers brought to the scene, Graves said.Twenty four cattle died in the collision inside the trailer, and 13 survived, Graves said."One lane southbound will remain open for the rest of the day as crews remove animal carcasses from the scene," Graves said. "We advise drivers to use alternate routes to avoid southbound I-17."Green, the owner/operator of the vehicle, will be cited for failure to control his vehicle, and DPS Commercial Vehicle officers have not ruled out fatigue as a cause of this collision, Graves said.Green, who was not injured in the collision, told officers he was traveling from Oshkosh, Neb., to Phoenix, Graves said.