At least 2 injured after semi hauling beehives tips on I-80
Jun 27, 2022, 12:29 PM | Updated: Jul 2, 2022, 12:38 pm
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Crews with the Park City Fire District say at least two people were taken to area hospitals with multiple bee stings after a semi-truck hauling over 200 beehives tipped on Interstate 80.
Firefighters say the crash happened near milepost 149 on eastbound I-80 just before noon Monday.
Sam Cohen, a local beekeeper and member of the Wasatch Beekeepers Association, told KSL TV that on the low end, roughly 24 million honey bees were released.
“We came to help any way we can,” Cohen said. “We’ve been slowly going through the hives, looking at what’s been damaged, and unfortunately, more is damaged than not.”
The beekeepers association ended up rescuing all of the remaining bees. Beekeeper Veldon Sorensen said, “We wanted to preserve as many bee lives as we could. They are so beneficial. Many people don’t even realize how intelligent they are and the goodness that comes from these insects. You know, you wouldn’t have almonds if you didn’t have bees?”
The rescued bees are now in quarantine at Sorensen’s training hives in Millcreek.
The accident closed eastbound I-80’s right lane for several hours while crews were on scene.
Authorities said the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail would be closed for several days due to all the bees.
Two people from the semi-truck were taken to the hospital with injuries from the crash – and bee stings. Others on scene were doing their best not to get stung.
“We’ve been telling people to roll up their windows,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Randall Richey. “And then we’ve had a couple troopers and firefighters that have been stung.”
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Beekeepers said the bees were headed to the Midwest to pollinate crops, but unfortunately, they’ll never make it there.
“As a beekeeper, it’s sad to see,” Cohen said.
Because of the crash investigation and insurance purposes, troopers eventually had to send the beekeepers away, leaving millions of bees in search of a new home.
No cause for the crash has been released.