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Jul-17-2017 22:00printcomments

Crashed Truckload of Slimy Hagfish Will be Remembered Always

Last Thursday, Oregon coast travelers learned that when Hagfish become stressed, they secrete a slime. That'll be hard to forget.

Oregon hagfish
7500 pounds of hagfish (slime eels) spilled onto the highway causing a chain reaction crash.
Photos: OSP

(LINCOLN CITY, Ore.) - When Oregon State Police and emergency workers responded to a multi-vehicle crash at noon last Thursday, little did they know that there was a slime-fest waiting.

It all began when a 1993 Mitsubishi truck, driven by 59-year old Salvatore J. Tragale, from Lincoln City, was traveling northbound on US Highway 101 near milepost 131. Tragale was approaching roadway construction being completed by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

An ODOT flagger had northbound traffic stopped, but Tragale was unable to stop the vehicle- or the load he was hauling.

The Mitsubishi was loaded with thirteen containers of a net weight of 7500 pounds of hagfish (commonly known as slime eels). The transfer of weight caused one of the containers to come off the truck bed and fly across the highway into the southbound lane.

The other containers separated from the bed of the truck and spilled onto the highway. As a result, the flat bed completely separated from the frame of the truck.

When the container struck the southbound vehicles, it caused a chain reaction pushing four vehicles into each other. The first vehicle to be struck by the container was a 2017 Nissan driven by 64-year old Kim Randall, from Sun Lakes, Arizona.

The Nissan was pushed backward into a brown Honda CRV, driven by 37-year old Rachel A. Craven, from Toledo. The CRV then pushed into a white Ford Focus driven by 33-year old Kristine Torp, and her passenger 30-year old Melissa Waage, both from Norway.

Finally the Focus pushed into a 2017 Ford F150 driven by 67-year old Kevin White, and his passengers 31-year old Brandon White and 70-year old Donna White, all from Tigard. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries reported from the first vehicle, the 2017 Nissan.

When Hagfish become stressed, they secrete a slime, which can be seen in the photos (see below) on the vehicles and on the highway. The highway was closed for several hours while Depoe Bay Fire worked at cleaning up the highway by hosing the Hagfish and slime off the roadway.

Now Oregon has something new that people will think of when they hear where you're from. No longer will it just be the state where we blew up the whale, or where the Simpson's were from. No, now we've got the "slime eels crash" to be remembered by. It'll make an interesting story, to be sure.

Photos: Oregon State Police


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