Sixteen elk were killed in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 at Highway 65 about 1 a.m. Jan. 23, when a semi truck collided with the herd as it was trying to cross the freeway.
The semi jackknifed as it hit the animals, and two cars were involved, one of which rolled over. Luckily, none of the vehicle occupants was hurt seriously enough to be taken to the hospital, said Garry DeJong, chief of Evergreen Fire/Rescue. The names of the individuals involved were not available.
EFR dispatched about five volunteers to help the Colorado Department of Transportation, which brought trucks and a front-end loader to clean up the scene.
“It was just a big, messy accident without injuries. Although it’s sad to lose so many elk,” DeJong said. “We helped disentangle the elk from the guardrails and hosed down the road with our tender.”
DeJong said elk-versus-vehicle accidents are not unusual, especially in the spring, when there is about one a day. But for so many elk to be killed at once is “obviously the exception.”
A herd of elk is not much of an obstacle for an 80,000-pound truck going downhill, DeJong said.
The accident closed the interstate for about two hours Friday morning.