Truck hauling thousands of chickens overturns in Salem

SALEM, Ore. - A truck hauling around 5,400 chickens overturned in Downtown Salem Tuesday morning, spilling the birds into the streets.

Salem police said the driver, Patricia Aguilar of Kelso, Wash.,was driving too fast when she made a turn from Front Street onto Commercial Street, causing the truck to turn onto its side just after 8 a.m.

"A considerable number of the chickens were killed in the crash, and many others appeared to have died during the cleanup phase," said Lt. Dave Okada with Salem police.

Several cars in a nearby Honda dealership parking lot were damaged in the crash, police said.

Damon Jensen said he came very close to being involved in the crash. When the truck overturned, he went to help the driver.

"I climbed up on the cab, opened up the door, and she's hanging by the seat belt," said Jensen.

Others helped Jensen cut Aguilar out of her seat belt. Jensen got a ladder out of his truck to help her get down.

"You were worried about fire, you know, watching the movies, as you're coming around you saw all that fluid, you saw dust, smoke," Jensen said. "So that's why you gotta get her out."

Aguilar walked away with just cuts and scrapes. Mike Sullivan, who works at a nearby Honda dealership and helped get her out of the truck, said she came back later to thank him privately.

The truck was headed for Kelso when the crash occurred. The chickens were from Polk County.

Okada said Salem police asked the local Humane Society for help in dealing with the chickens and clearing the street.

Commercial Street was closed between Division Street and Market Street while authorities cleaned up the crash scene, but it has since reopened.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.