Colleton County Fire-Rescue


04/18/2012 – MVC with entrapment – “C” Shift

Incident # 12-02109 – A severe thunderstorm was a contributing factor in a single vehicle crash that injured one man and trapped six race horses. The accident occurred on Interstate 95 at the 43 mile marker northbound. The tractor trailer was traveling north when it left the roadway on the right shoulder, spun around backwards and turned over on its side at the wood line. This accident was reported at 19:27, Wednesday 18-April. This remote area is ½ mile north of US Highway 21 (Lowcountry Highway), approximately 10 miles south of Walterboro. The Freightliner truck was pulling a large horse transport trailer that was enroute to a race. Two men, six horses and two cats where in the trailer. One of the two men received non-life threatening traumatic injuries. The other man and the truck driver were not injured. All six horses received a variety of injuries. Four had what appeared to be minor injuries and one had moderate injuries. Those five were standing in the trailer when Fire-Rescue Units arrived. One horse received severe injuries and had one leg trapped between a wall brace and the side of the trailer. 

Responding units were slightly delayed due to the heavy rains. Visibility was only about 100 feet, but thank the Lord the rains stopped shortly after arrival.

Firefighter-Paramedics treated the injured man at the scene before transporting him to Colleton Medical Center for further care. An additional Engine, Ambulance, Rescue Truck and personnel were sent to the scene to assist with the extrication efforts. Fire-Rescue contacted local Veterinarian Lori Campbell who responded to the scene from Walterboro. Dr. Reese Maron with Vet Techs Jaclyn Galloway and Anna Givens from the Edisto Equine Clinic on Youngs Island and two Colleton County Animal Control Officers also responded to the scene. Firefighters were able to open the single side door on the trailer, which was now on top. This allowed some air to circulate from the trailer and provided an opening for Firefighter-Paramedics to climb down into the trailer to check on the animals from a short distance. Once Rescue 1 arrived, two confined space ventilation fans were used to force fresh, cool air into the trailer to help ventilate the space and cool the horses. 

Holmatro Hydraulic Rescue Tools where used to cut several bars from the windows to insert the ventilation tubes. The power tools irritated the horses, so no further attempts to use them were made until the Veterinarians arrived to sedate the horses. It was feared the horses may further injure themselves. Doctors Maron and Campbell sedated each of the horses and at one point used a 12 foot pike pole from Engine 1 with the syringe taped to the blunt end to reach a horse near the rear of the trailer. Crews worked from a safe distance in an effort to prevent any injuries to personnel or the large animals.

With the horses sedated, Firefighters used four K-12 circular saws simultaneously to make cuts in the roof large enough for the horses to walk out. The two large holes were cut in about 45 seconds through the aluminum roof and supports, to minimize the noise. The cut roof panels were folded down to the ground and covered with thick padding to protect the horses feet. Handlers were standing by to escort the horses from the trailer. The first horse was removed at 21:39, with the second and third removed at 21:51. 

The last two were taken out at 21:55. Another horse transport company, Lorraine Horse Transport, was traveling ahead of the wrecked truck. They were contacted and returned to the scene. Five of the horses were loaded into their tractor trailer transport for a trip to the Edisto Equine Clinic, so the horses could be treated for their injuries. Once the five horse were removed, the Vets and firefighters evaluated the sixth horse. It suffered multiple traumatic injuries and one leg was trapped. Firefighters used Holmatro Rescue Tools to cut a metal cross-member to free the horse’s leg, however he had to be euthanized due to his injuries. The truck driver then informed personnel there were two cats near the front of the trailer. Firefighters and Vet Lori Campbell removed a great deal of debris from the front of the trailer, quickly locating one cat. It was in a pet carrier and did not appear to be injured. Crews continued to remove mattresses, a wheel barrel, tools and containers for another five minutes before they located the second feline. It too was in a pet carrier and was not injured. Dr. Campbell transported the cats to her office for evaluation and boarding until the owners could retrieve them.

One lane of I-95 northbound was closed for three hours while crews worked the accident. Traffic was light and only backed up for ½ of a mile. The SC Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and the possibility of a second vehicle that may have been involved.

Engine 1, Engine 8, Medic 1, Medic 26, Rescue 1, Brush 8, Battalion 1, Car 12 and Car 116 responded. Firefighter-Paramedic Scott O’Quinn served as Incident Commander.