A truck hauling 84 head of cattle crashed Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 26 east of Madras, killing some of the livestock.

Neither the driver nor his passenger were injured in the single-vehicle accident, but “heavy extrication” was required over two hours to remove the surviving animals from the trailer.

Fourteen cows were killed in the crash, according to Capt. Kasey Skaar of Jefferson County Fire District No. 1. It’s not known how many others died from their injuries, he said.

The driver of the truck was Dennis Cayer, and the truck is licensed in Washington, according to the accident report.

The crash occurred about 2:45 p.m. 6 miles east of Madras on Highway 26. A 911 caller reported a tractor trailer was on its side on the side of the highway and not blocking traffic.

Oregon State Police, Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office responded. With the trailer still resting on one side, holes were cut on the side of the truck, which was facing up, so emergency rescue personnel could get to the surviving cows.

“With the doors covered up, we had to create our own doors,” Skaar said.

Fencing was set up on Bureau of Land Management land surrounding the highway to temporarily house the surviving cattle. The cattle were all removed by 4:30 p.m.

The highway was closed at 5:20 p.m. so a tow truck could recover the tractor trailer. The scene was cleared by authorities about an hour later, according to state police Lt. Cari Boyd.

The nearby Central Oregon Livestock Auction holds its weekly cattle auction on Mondays. Two feedlots also operate in the area.

A similar wreck occurred in December 4 miles west on Highway 26. The cattle truck in that incident remained upright, but the cattle all needed to be removed. A cattle truck also crashed in Crook County about six months ago, according to Skaar.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, gandrews@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. An earlier version misstated the location of the accident. The Bulletin regrets the error.

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