|A semitrailer carrying 35,000 pounds of frozen chicken is abandoned at a western Montana truck, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 in Missoula, Mont. An employee of an Idaho trucking company abandoned the trailer load of frozen chicken after the company reportedly refused a ransom demand, Missoula County officials said. The 53-foot trailer, dripping the rancid juices of rotting chicken, was discovered near the Flying J Truck Stop west of Missoula on Tuesday. Truck stop manager Crystal Friede said the trailer had been there since at least Saturday. It contained 35,000 pounds of chicken worth $80,000, officials said. (AP Photo/The Missoulian, Martin Kidston)
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — An employee of an Idaho trucking company abandoned a trailer containing thousands of pounds of frozen chicken at a western Montana truck stop after the company reportedly refused to pay a ransom for the poultry, Missoula County officials said.
The 53-foot trailer, dripping the rancid juices of rotting chicken, was discovered Tuesday near the Flying J Truck Stop west of Missoula, the Missoulian reported.
Truck stop manager Crystal Friede said the trailer had been there since at least Saturday. It contained 35,000 pounds of chicken worth $80,000, officials said.
The trucker reportedly texted Dixie River Freight Inc. saying he'd return the chicken in exchange for a ransom, sheriff's spokeswoman Paige Pavalone said Wednesday.
The Nampa, Idaho, trucking company refused his offer and reported the truck missing.
A woman who answered the phone at Dixie River declined to comment to The Associated Press.
Pavalone said the sheriff's office didn't know if the truck driver had been located.
Officials with the county health department were at the truck stop Wednesday trying to figure out the best way to dispose of the load as temperatures in the Missoula area topped 90 degrees.
"It would be ideal to only have to deal with it once," said Shannon Therriault, environmental health supervisor with the Missoula County Health Department. "We don't want rotting chicken dripping from here to who knows where. If It's leaking a little now, if you move it, more can happen."
Republic Services, a trash removal and recycling company, has an expert on staff to deal with rotten poultry, Therriault said.
"We'll try to figure out, between parties, the best way to have the least amount of contact with the contents," she said.
Meanwhile, Dixie River's insurance company will have to determine if the truck can be cleaned well enough to use again, Therriault said.