Truck tips, beehives tossed along Highway 97

MADRAS, Ore. -- Tens of thousands of bees spilled off a loaded truck along Highway 97 Saturday night when a commercial semi carrying hive boxes  tipped on its side after swerving to avoid an animal in the road, police officials said.

Officials said the truck driver, 52-year-old Martin Garcia, was unhurt in the crash.

Garcia told police he swerved off the roadway at around 8:30 pm Saturday to avoid an animal in the road. The truck left the pavement and tipped over, blocking the northbound lane and road shoulder.

State police troopers cited Garcia for failure to maintain a lane.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said that a small fire started when a towing company tried to move the truck. ODOT officials said they put out the fire before it spread; they suspect it was caused by the electrical system.

Both ODOT and the towing company felt it was best to just take the trailer and truck away from the scene and leave the load of beehives off the side of the highway, state police officials said.