BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. --
The southbound lanes of U.S. 27 near the Palm Beach/Broward County line were closed for hours Tuesday after an 18-wheeler crashed into an overturned truck full of goats, pigs, sheep, chickens and cows.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, a truck pulling a livestock trailer filled with animals jackknifed on southbound U.S. 27 at mile marker 47 after the driver lost control of the vehicle at about 10:30 p.m. Monday. An 18-wheeler then crashed into the truck, killing the driver, 64-year-old John Edward James, of Deltona.
It was like an explosion between the animals and the truck parts. They were all over the roadway, said Sean Loscalzo of Superior Towing.
The driver of the truck pulling the animals, 43-year-old Benigno Gomez, used a flashlight to try to warn the approaching tractor-trailer. But troopers said James either could not stop or did not see the trailer.
"It's a shame. I heard he was just getting ready to retire," Loscalzo said.
Gomez was not injured in the crash.
Loscalzo, who works for Superior Towing, spent the evening helping troopers and animal control catch several farm animals that escaped and were running loose after the crash.
Some of the animals were so badly injured, they had to be euthanized. As many as 100 died at the scene. A special team planned to pick up the animals' bodies.
"I don't think we've worked at a situation like this in Broward County that I can remember," said Sgt. Mark Wysocky of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Many of the surviving animals ran away. Troopers, firefighters and cleanup crews corralled as many as they could.
"We were trying to grab the chickens, the sheep, the goats, the pigs. They were making an awful noise. They sound like they're in pain. They're just scared, running around," Loscalzo said. "We made a makeshift corral in the roadway."
"Anybody that's traveling out here, we urge them to use caution because several animals were seen walking north. There was also another group of animals seen walking south," Wysocky said.
Officials said the surviving animals, most of which have been caught, were taken to a farm in Pembroke Pines.
FHP continues to investigate the cause of the crash.
The southbound lanes of U.S. 27 remained closed for several hours Tuesday before reopening shortly after noon.
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