No one was injured when a semi-trailer carrying more than 55,000 pounds of hay bales overturned Monday morning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 56 and Kansas Highway 15, one mile west of Hillsboro.
The driver, Gary Davis, 21, of Lehigh, said he was transporting the square bales from D&S Hay in Lehigh to a company that converts the bales to hay pellets in Abilene.
On first inspection, Davis said the white 2000 Freightliner Classic semi looked “OK,” but noticed the trailer had buckled causing the hay bales to tip over.
Part of the problem, according to Davis, involved the type of trailer used for hauling the square hay bales and a wind gust from the north that could have caught the rig during the turn.
“This trailer is an older style one and going around corners does twist,” he said, “but the newer trailer doesn’t twist.”
Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said he sees hay hauled like this all the time, adding it is hard to say what happened to cause this one to tip over.
“It could have been a wind gust or the driver could have turned too sharp as he was going around the corner,” he said. “It’s difficult to know for sure.”
Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft and Deputy Derek Fetrow interviewed Davis about what happened.
Within 20 minutes after the accident, a forklift was used to remove the bales from the trailer and were moved to the northbound shoulder of Kansas Highway 15. Before the sheriff’s office cleared the scene, however, the nearly 50 bales were relocated to the south side of U.S. Highway 56, near the Hillsboro Animal Clinic.
Clean-up efforts took about one and one-half hours before normal traffic resumed, Craft said.