Elk Herd Cause Of Hwy. 87 Crash That Took Out Power Pole

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After authorities learned that the driver of a tractor-trailer that overturned and took out a power pole on Highway 87 was trying to avoid a herd of elk, they decided not to ticket him.

The Department of Public Safety originally said they would cite Colby Seeley, 33, for failure to control speed to avoid an accident, but after witnesses said Seeley was braking to avoid a herd of elk, they withdrew any charges, said DPS Sgt. John Whetten.

“It is pretty difficult to maintain a set of doubles, let alone try to brake hard to miss a whole herd of elk,” Whetten said.

Seeley said he frequently traveled the Clarkdale to Payson route as a driver for CTI hauling fly ash.

On Jan. 16, he was traveling southbound, near the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park turnoff when a herd of elk crossed the road.

As Seeley reportedly braked to avoid the group, the trailers swayed, overturning the tractor-trailer and striking a power pole. Whetten said Seeley missed most of the herd, but fatally struck one elk.

Seeley crawled out of the overturned truck through the driver’s door and walked a safe distance from the area when he noticed power lines were hanging in the street.

Highway 87 was closed for six hours as crews worked to raise the power lines to a safe height. Seeley, who was mildly injured in the shoulder from the seat belt, plans to return to work as soon as possible.

“I just started with them last August and I hope to go back to work soon,” he said.

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