On November 8, 2005, a 26-year-old male laborer who was a passenger in a semi-truck died when the driver swerved to avoid hitting a cow that was standing in the parkway lane. The two employees had been traveling westbound for approximately one hour when the driver noticed a cow in his lane. He swerved to avoid hitting the cow but hit it anyway. The tractor and two trailers jack-knifed, traveled through the median with the cab and trailers flipped onto their right sides, slid across the eastbound lanes, then the cab slammed through the guardrail. The cab came to rest on the steep embankment of the shoulder. A passing motorist called emergency services. Emergency personnel arrived, climbed down the steep embankment and found the top of the cab crushed. Both driver and passenger were thought to be alive. However, because of the steep slope and the condition of the cab, rescue personnel could not administer first aid to the two men in the cab. Tow trucks were called to the scene to move the two trailers and pull the cab up the slope and onto the pavement. Using torches, rescuers cut away the metal of the cab to reach the two men. Both men were wearing seatbelts which needed to be cut in order to free them. Emergency personnel assessed both men. The driver was found to be alive and was transported to the nearest hospital. However, the passenger did not have vital signs. The local coroner was contacted; he arrived and declared the passenger dead at the scene.

To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:

Recommendation No. 1: Livestock owners should ensure boundary fences are appropriate for the animal type and regularly maintained to ensure both animal and public safety.

Recommendation No. 2: Police should warn motorists when errant farm animals are on interstate highways.

Recommendation No. 3: Companies should provide professional training for company truck drivers.

Recommendation No. 4: Parkway medians should be designed and constructed with median barriers to deter crossover median crashes.

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A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

05KY089_Summary.pdf (16 kB)
Case Summary