NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — Authorities in Idaho have arrested the driver thought to have abandoned a trailer containing 37,000 pounds of rotten chicken at a western Montana truck stop.
The Greater Idaho Fugitive Task Force in Meridian found Christopher Hall, 42, on Friday afternoon, Nampa police Lt. Eric Skoglund said.
Police say the trailer might have been sitting at the Flying J Truck Stop west of Missoula, Montana, for a month before it was discovered this week with rancid juices from the cargo dripping onto the pavement and attracting flies.
Hall abandoned the trailer after his employer, Dixie River Freight Inc., refused his demands for more money to deliver its then-frozen cargo to Kent, Washington, according to police.
He left the chicken worth $80,000 to thaw and then rot when the fuel for the trailer’s refrigeration unit ran out.
Hall has not been charged with any crimes related to the abandoned trailer, but he was picked up on a parole violation. He now faces a possible theft charge.
The Nampa-based trucking company reported the trailer missing Aug. 27, and Nampa police Sgt. Joe Ramirez said it might have been at the truck stop for more than a month.
The trailer was towed Friday morning to a landfill a few miles down Interstate 90 after Dixie River’s insurance company filled out the necessary paperwork and holes in the trailer were plugged, said Alisha Johnson, a Missoula County Health Department environmental specialist.
The putrid load was dumped into the fresh pit with a bulldozer standing by to cover it, the Missoulian reported.
Hall picked up the trailer Aug. 20 in Springdale, Arkansas, and was supposed to deliver it to Washington the next day. He texted and called Dixie River Freight several times for more money, but the company refused to pay him until he delivered the load, Ramirez said.
“He was asking for fuel money, living expenses, those kind of things, in exchange for taking the truck to its appropriate location where it was supposed to be dropped,” Ramirez told KTVB-TV in Boise.
The Volvo truck that hauled the trailer was discovered Thursday in the parking lot of a Nampa Walmart.
There is no public health hazard at the Flying J Truck Stop, and the cleanup should be relatively simple, Johnson said.
“There’s really not that much there,” she said. “Some of the pictures make it look like a river running out of the trailer, but it was really just a few drips every few minutes.”