MISSOULA, Mont. — An abandoned trailer containing 37,000 pounds of rotten chicken was towed to a landfill Friday after sitting at a western Montana truck stop for possibly a month or longer, and its contents were dumped in a freshly dug pit.
Authorities say a truck driver abandoned the trailer after his employer, Dixie River Freight Inc., refused his demands for more money to deliver its then-frozen cargo.
He left the chicken worth $80,000 to thaw and then rot when the fuel for the trailer’s refrigeration unit ran out.
The Nampa, Idaho-based trucking company reported it missing Aug. 27. The trailer was discovered this week at the Flying J Truck Stop west of Missoula, dripping rancid juices onto the concrete and attracting flies.
Nampa police Sgt. Joe Ramirez said it might have been there for more than a month.
The trailer was towed Friday morning to a landfill a few miles down Interstate 90 after Dixie River’s insurance company filled out the necessary paperwork and holes in the trailer were plugged, said Alisha Johnson, a Missoula County Health Department environmental specialist.
The putrid load was dumped into the fresh pit with a bulldozer standing by to cover it, the Missoulian reported.
Nampa police are searching for the driver, 42-year-old Christopher Hall, who was wanted for a parole violation and now faces a possible theft charge.
Hall picked up the trailer Aug. 20 in Springdale, Arkansas, and was supposed to deliver it to Kent, Washington, the next day, police said.
He texted and called Dixie River Freight several times for more money, but the company refused to pay him until he delivered the load, Ramirez said.
“He was asking for fuel money, living expenses, those kind of things, in exchange for taking the truck to its appropriate location where it was supposed to be dropped,” Ramirez told KTVB-TV in Boise, Idaho.
The Volvo truck that hauled the trailer was discovered Thursday in the parking lot of a Nampa Walmart, police said in a statement.
There is no public health hazard at the Flying J Truck Stop, and the cleanup should be relatively simple, Johnson said.
“There’s really not that much there,” she said. “Some of the pictures make it look like a river running out of the trailer, but it was really just a few drips every few minutes.”
Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com