A truck hauling 71 head of cattle from the high country overturned just south of mile post 13 on the Dolores-Norwood Road on Tuesday around 3 p.m. – leaving 10 cattle dead, three crippled and 58 wandering in the San Juan National Forest.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Ben Steger said the driver of the 18-wheel semitrailer, Cody Parker, 23, of Mosca, Colorado, told troopers he guided the southbound truck to the right to allow a small passenger vehicle to pass along the narrow Forest Service road. But the truck started sinking in the soft shoulder sand.
“The truck slowly tilted onto its side,” Steger said.
An investigation into the incident continues, but Parker was not cited on the scene. Steger said that could change depending on an inspection of the 18-wheeler and a check on its maintenance records.
Lloyd Shuman, owner of the cattle, from Blanding, Utah, said the cattle were headed from summer high country grazing to a feedlot in Sterling and were about six months out from being slaughtered.
He estimated the cattle were worth about $1,000 a head and said he will seek insurance reimbursement for an estimated $13,000 in losses.
The truck was one of three carrying Shuman’s cattle to Sterling.
Steger said no meat market would take product from the dead and crippled cattle, and they are considered total losses.
“We’ll have to get some cowboys to round them up,” Shuman said about the 58 head of cattle now roaming San Juan National Forest about 13 miles north of Dolores.