Accident leads to Cattle Roundup in Walterboro


The Highway Patrol closed both North and Southbound lanes of Interstate 95 between Exit 53 and Exit 57 for ten hours on February 13. Just after 1am 911 received a call that a tractor trailer struck the southbound bridge near mile marker 55. The truck cab separated from the trailer and was on fire, and the trailer which was transporting cattle was in the river. Firefighter-Paramedics located the driver who had escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. The truck driver advised he had more than 35 cows onboard the trailer. Crews could see a portion of the cattle trailer submerged in the river. Both southbound lanes were blocked due to the fire and debris. Diesel fuel covered the bridge and was leaking into the river. Additional resources arrived with firefighters and law enforcement discovering several cows in the river, on the banks, and several cows were walking in the northbound lanes of the Interstate 95. The dark colored cows were not visible in the darkness on the rural stretch of I-95. One passenger car struck debris in the roadway and was disabled at the scene of the accident, blocking the median side lane. The driver of the car was uninjured. Sheriff Deputies and Walterboro Police set up a detour for northbound traffic at Exit 53. They also detoured southbound traffic at Exit 57 with all I-95 traffic running through Walterboro.

Crews transported the truck driver to Colleton Medical Center. County Animal Services responded with multiple units. Several volunteers, veterinarians, and ranchers some from as far away as Hickory Grove, SC assisted with the cattle round up. The effort ran into hours as the cattle ran in multiple directions. Riders on horseback used lassos to catch some of the cows and place them in cattle trailers.  The Sheriff’s Office also brought a small boat to the site.  Fire-Rescue and Deputies used drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to search the swampy areas near the accident and neighboring woods. Wrecker crews cleared the burned truck from the highway, allowing DOT crews to sand the bridge in an effort to secure the spilled diesel fuel. DOT also had bridge inspectors on site examining the bridge due to damage incurred during the collision. After ten hours officials were satisfied that cattle near the Interstate had been rounded up. Sheriff’s Deputies, local ranchers, DNR Officers, Fire-Rescue and Animal Services spent most of the afternoon chasing down rogue cows that had made it into neighborhoods near the Interstate.