UPDATED: 11 elk killed in Highway 26 crash near Banks
Eleven elk are dead after a crash on Highway 26 early Thursday morning, Jan. 4, but no humans were hurt.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office said only one vehicle was involved in the crash when it hit the herd of elk in the eastbound lane of Highway 26 near Northwest Dersham Road, in the rural Banks area.
The vehicle involved was a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche, according to the Sheriff's Office. Its driver was named as James W. Childers III, 36. He was not injured in the crash.
Deputies responded to the crash at 4:25 a.m. Thursday. Eastbound Highway 26 was closed at the scene for more than two hours, with all lanes of the highway reopened around 7 a.m.
The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division assisted with the crash investigation and removal of the elk. The Oregon Department of Transportation also assisted in clearing the elk to allow the highway to reopen.
State police announced early Thursday afternoon that at least 13 elk were struck by one or more vehicles at the scene. Of the 11 elk that perished, about half died at the scene and the others were euthanized, according to police.
Troopers assessed whether any of the elk could be salvaged for meat and determined that several could be. Three were to be taken to Astoria for processing and distribution at food banks and senior centers, two more to Tillamook, and the rest of the salvaged elk distributed locally, state police said.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the type of vehicle involved. It was a pickup truck. This story has been updated with additional details, including information from the Washington County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police released later on Thursday, Jan. 4. An earlier version of this story originally appeared on the website of KOIN 6 News, the News-Times' media partner.