A semi-truck carrying honeybees overturned on Interstate 35 in Oklahoma Tuesday afternoon, setting free large swarms that partially shut down the highway.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that the incident happened in Pauls Valley near mile marker 72 southbound around 1 p.m., according to KOCO-TV
. Injuries from the crash were reported, but not specified.
"Millions, millions of bees. I couldn't give you a number, but millions," said Scott Woods, who said he pulled the driver from the truck. "I got stung on the lip, on the end of the nose, mouth, the side of the eye, and then the back."
Exit 72 was closed completely by the bee spill, and the highway flow was reduced to one lane.
As evening fell, beekeepers called to the scene to quell the agitated insects reported that they were only becoming more aggressive. They continued gathering as many bees as they could until roughly 7:30 p.m., at which time it was decided the remaining bees would have to be burned.
Heavy machinery helped moved the remaining crash debris into a big pile, whereupon gasoline was added, and the heap was set ablaze. Several hundred thousand bees were safely collected before the fire was set.
"Oh, gosh, I'd even be afraid to guess — jillions and jillions," Steve Chronister from P&M Wrecker Service, said of the loose bees. "We're going to go up here and see if we can get this truck rolled over and get this mess cleaned up."
Deputy Carl Zink reported to KFOR-TV
that he was temporarily trapped for a time in his Garvin County Sheriff's cruiser when bees swarmed the exterior of the vehicle. Zink received one sting, but was otherwise uninjured.
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