Update on double decker horse accident
Posted 23 September 2004 - 08:58 AM
Animal Protection Coalition and Indiana Horse Rescue have received many e-mails regarding the double deck semi trailer accident in Dearborn County that killed 21 horses. John Holland of Virginia has put together a wonderful report which may answer many of your questions.
At the request of Joell Girone of WLWT Television (www.channelcincinnati.com), Anthony Caldwell, President of Animal Protection Coalition flew to Cincinnati, OH to be interviewed regarding this accident and to answer more questions regarding horses going to slaughter. We were able to supply them with video from the "Slaughterhouse Ride" story from WISH-TV and WANE-TV along with the horse slaughter video from the Humane Farming Association. Joell Girone is continuing to research the destiny of these horses and the outcome of the accident.
Facts about the terrible accident with the double deck trailer
Prepared by: John Holland, Team Red Horse
Note: This file is a work in progress and several earlier
versions that were based on press accounts showed significantly
different numbers of horses killed and other facts.
I believe this to be the most accurate account of the accident
at this time (9/22/04). Note that the number of equines killed was
originally estimated at 30 and is now known to have been 21.
Many of the horses were young, and four of the animals were
mules according to first hand accounts.
The accident occurred Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 15th on Indiana
State Rt. 1, just north of Lawrenceburg and one half mile from the
Greendale City limits. The vehicle came around a turn and slid off
the roadway striking a guardrail, then going over a slight embankment
the vehicle fell over on its side and hit a utility pole breaking
the pole. A small fire was started by the downed wires.
Dearborn police stated that big rigs often used the route to avoid
the scales on the I-74, I-275 interstates if they were overweight.
The reports of the various media outlets varied widely on the number
of horses that died at the scene, the number euthanized, and the even
the total number. I therefore called Dr. Nenni to clarify them. The
following facts are directly from my telephone interviews with Dr.
Nenni. I told him that I was researching facts and would try to
discriminate then as widely as possible so as to reduce misinformation
and speculation, and to attempt to minimize the number of people
bothering him. He was extremely responsive and helpful. After our
initial conversation he called me back with further information.
According to Dr. Nenni he euthanized 12 horses when he arrived
(not the 6 reported by the press). He indicated that the reporter
who had said the owner had told him to euthanize any horses that
“could not go on” had misunderstood his meaning. By “going on”
he meant horses that had no reasonable chance for survival. No
horses were euthanized that had a reasonably chance of survival,
he said. One horse was given to the property owner where the
accident occurred in payment of damages. The Standard Fertilizer
Company reported removing 21 dead horses. The remaining 30 horses
continued to the Ramey farm.
Therefore the total number of horses that died was 21, and the
total number that survived was about 31, for a grand total of 52.
Dr. Nenni stated some of the misestimates of the number killed
came from the fact that most of the horses shown laying about
the pasture in press photos were not the dead, but rather the
survivors who laid down after the stress of the accident.
Dr. Nenni further told me that he did not check Coggins papers
(that was not his function there), but that he established
contact with the Kentucky State veterinarian waiting at the
Ramey farm and that he was told they checked all the appropriate
paperwork. He said all horses arrived in good shape. Dr. Nenni
said he did check some of the bills of sale and that most of the
horses he checked were registered horses including paints and
quarter horses. The Kentucky State veterinarian told Dr. Nenni
that all of the horses came from legal auctions in the North.
<End of information from Dr. Nenni>
According to first hand accounts, some of the injured horses
were made to wait 1 to 1 ½ hours. This has been attributed to
the fact that most veterinarians were away from the area at
a conference, leaving Dr. Nenni and his staff the only ones
at the scene.
Also according to first hand accounts, several people in the
area had guns and wanted to shoot the horses but the Sheriff
would not allow it and threatened to handcuff anyone with a
gun to the trees!
According to a first hand report, "In a forward compartment
there were several horses all believed to be dead (including a
2 month old baby <foal>). When using the crane to get the trailer
up there was a bunch of banging and kicking. They set it down
and went in and found a mule in the middle of a bunch of dead
horses without a scratch." <End of first hand report>
The driver and passengers were treated and released.
The surviving horses were moved to a makeshift coral at the
residence of Chris and Michelle Belshawl, 19534 Whitaker Lane
until they calmed down. The remaining horses, except for a
red roan that was given to the property owner for damages, were
then reloaded and continued to their destination which the owner
said was the Ramey Ranch only 160 miles away in Flemingsburg, KY.
The horses were reported to have bills of sale showing most
had sold in the 500.00 range. None of the horses were tagged
for slaughter. If their destination was legal slaughter these tags would
have been required.
A member of our them interviewed one of the state officials
who was present at the accident. According to this official, "Horses
on the trailer were for the most part, not nice looking horses. Most
of the horses were young, and they traveled on the bottom. [This
agrees with Dr. Nenni's account]. The older, or taller horses traveled
on top. The top of the entire trailer was shorn off. There were four mules."
The owner of the horses was Jodi Ramey of Flemingsburg Kentucky who
was a passenger in the truck and claimed the horses were bought at
auction in Minnesota to be sold as trail and riding. The Ramey's are
members of the Kentucky Cattlemen's Assoc.
There was another tractor trailer, also commissioned by Ramey traveling in
front of the one that crashed. It has not been determined if it was also a
double decker. Reportedly, Jodi Ramey radioed this truck and instructed
it not to come back to the scene and help, but rather to keep going to
Channel 5 News out of Cincinnati visited the Ramey farm but
The driver was Kristopher Ramey. He was sited for not having
a log book. There was a second passenger in the truck.
The tractor trailer was reported to be owned by the Fleming
Meat Packing Co. of Flemingsburg KY. The packing company
(slaughter house) is listed as being "Multi-species". A
friend of the Ramey’s says that the Ramey cattle operations
do business with the packing company.
Fleming County Packing Co.
233 Railroad St.
Flemingsburg, KY 41041
There is not yet any established relationship between the
Rameys and the meat packing company other than their tractor
was pulling the trailer and the fact that the Ramey cattle
business sold cattle to the packing company (private email
from acquaintance of Ramey’s).
Horse slaughter is illegal in Kentucky so if the Fleming
County Packing Company was the intended destination of
these horses it would have been against state law.
None of the horses were wearing the tags required for slaughter
It has not been established whether the Rameys resell to
slaughter houses like Cavel.
Several people have confirmed that the Rameys do buy horses
regularly at Sugar Creek and other auctions, and at least one
person confirms having bought a saddle horse from them.
According to one source “Jodi and his dad buy horses from
up north and hauls them to the auctions all the way down to
Tennessee. He goes non stop through the auctions buying
riding horses cheap then re-sells them. I have know Jodi
for a long time, didn't know that that the tractor/trailer
his dad drove was hauling horses though. I have only seen
Jodi pull through the auctions with a big gooseneck stock
In 2003 the Ramey Trucking Company had a similar accident,
but it is not known if it is the same Ramey family, but
the extended Ramey family does do a lot of professional
hauling according to acquaintances. Here is the report
from the 2003 accident:
<<Thirty cows died when the tractor-trailer carrying them
crashed Saturday morning on the ramp from northbound
Interstate 75 to westbound Interstate 275. Erlanger police
closed the ramp for about 81/2 hours after Oakley Cooper,
27, of Flemingsburg, lost control of a tractor-trailer
owned by Ramey Trucking of Flemingsburg at 2:25 a.m.
Police said the trailer broke lose from the truck and
flipped onto its right side, skidding for more than 350
feet and striking a light pole. >> <End of information
about similar accident>
The veterinarian at the horse trailer accident site was:
Dr. John Nenni
Bright Vet Clinic
The person who will determine if charges are filed is:
Dearborn County Courthouse
215 W. High St
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
(812) 537-8884 phone
(812) 537-4295 fax - corrected from earlier post
Law Enforcement Jurisdiction:
Dearborn County Sheriff
301 W. High St
Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025
The investigating officer was:
Dearborn County Sheriff
Deputy Allen Holdcraft assisted Deputy William Wagner
Also responding to the scene were:
Greendale Fire Dept.
Greendale Police Dept.
Indiana Department of Transportation
Indiana State Police DOT Enforcement
Miller York Fire Dept.
Personal email from two acquaintances
Email accounts from persons at the scene
Two telephone interviews with Dr. Nenni
Telephone interview with Official at scene by Anne Russek
Why has this story received such keen attention from the
horse community? There has been wild speculation about
the destiny (as opposed to destination) of these horses,
because of the following facts.
1) It is virtually unheard of for non-slaughter bound horses
to be hauled in double deck cattle trailers.
2) The lack of a required log book. This book would
have made it possible to trace the movement of the truck
and the weight of its load.
3) The fact that the tractor was owned by a slaughter house
in a state where horse slaughter is illegal.
4) The fact that the Ramey's chose not to address the
accident publicly (this is probably the major issue).
5) The fact that the truck appeared to be trying to avoid
6) The fact that the second truck was not called back to
the scene to help.
7) The fact that the Jodi Ramey claimed they were to be
resold as saddle horses, but there were four mules in
the shipment and many horses were too young to be used
for that purpose in the near term.
8) The purchase range of the horses is in the slaughter range.
9) The fact that persons calling and offering to buy the
survivors are being ignored.
10) The present location of the horses is not known.
None of the above facts proves anything beyond the
explanation given by Jodi Ramey, but they all need to
be answered before the issue will be put to rest.
If you have any questions regarding this accident please send them to email@example.com. We are working with all our resources to get the facts.
Animal Protection Coalition
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