An Ohio man died this morning when a truck he was driving left Interstate-80 on the north side of the Quad Cities, hit a large sign, and came to rest in a field. Davenport Police Captain David Struckman says the pickup truck was pulling a trailer full of racing greyhounds. "The poor dogs," the captain says, "just scared to death."
Struckman says police contacted a Maysville animal-rescue group, which sent people to help round up the dogs. About thirty dogs were in the trailer when it happened about 4:30 this morning. A dozen animals got out after their trailer was damaged in the crash, and police say four of the greyhounds were hit and killed by traffic on the Interstate highway. Struckman says two passengers who’d been sleeping in the truck escaped injury in the crash.
The driver, identified as 62-year-old Francis Evans of Rayland, Ohio, was dead at the scene with massive head injuries. Authorities don’t know if Evans fell asleep, or had some pre-existing medical condition that contributing to his driving the truck off the roadway. Struckman says if the truck hadn’t hit the sign, the driver might have survived. An autopsy will provide medical answers for the investigation.
The truck was taking the greyhounds from Oklahoma to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Struckman says after the trailer broke loose during the accident, it rolled over at least once. "Not only did you have the regular accident and the traffic to worry about, now you have to worry about the dogs," Struckman says. Some of the greyhounds were still in in the damaged trailer, and had to be checked to see if they were safe and un-injured, and officers tried to save those that were running loose, despite the heavy volume of high-speed traffic on the Interstate.
Struckman says it was sad that despite their efforts to round up the animals, at least four were killed. At last report, one of the missing dogs was still at large, and police want people to know that while the dogs are friendly and not dangerous, all were wearing muzzles so the wandering animal will be unable to eat or drink.