35K Pounds of Raw Chicken Found Rotting in Truck
Driver allegedly demanded ransom
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2014 12:40 PM CDT
A semitrailer carrying 35,000 pounds of frozen chicken was abandoned at a western Montana truck stop, shown on Sept. 24, 2014, in Missoula, Mont.   (AP Photo/The Missoulian, Martin Kidston)

(Newser) – Getting rid of a little rotting raw chicken: not a big deal. Getting rid of a 53-foot trailer filled with more than 35,000 pounds of rotting raw chicken: a pretty big deal. Missoula County officials are finding that out after a stolen truck was discovered Tuesday at a Wye truck stop, "gooey red" chicken juice dripping from the trailer and the odor of rotting meat attracting flies in the Montana heat, the Missoulian reports. Driver Christopher Hall allegedly texted his employer and demanded a ransom for the $80,000 worth of fowl, then ditched the truck when it was clear Dixie River Freight wasn't going to pay, NBC Montana reports. Officials are still looking for Hall. It's not clear how long the truck has been sitting there, but Hall was supposed to deliver the chicken to its proper location back on Aug. 21.

But while the mystery of how the truck got there has ostensibly been solved, how to safely get rid of so many putrid chicken carcasses has posed its own problems. Officials had to brainstorm whether it was better to somehow encase the whole truck and transport it to a dump, or if the chicken would have to be removed and placed in a leakproof container at the truck stop, notes the Missoulian. Meanwhile, the health department, insurance company, and towing company had to hash out who's responsible for the transport of both the truck and the spoiled chicken, as well as any further leaking. Finally, the insurance company has to weigh in to give the truck the all-clear for a thorough cleaning—or insist it be taken off the road forever. According to a local towing company cited by NBC Montana, the truck was set to be taken to a dump this morning and the chicken buried in a giant pit, with workers wearing respirators to deal with the stench.