Highway 26 at Northwest Dersham Road was temporarily closed due to a crash involving a herd of elk, killing nearly a dozen animals, early Thursday morning.
Washington County deputies were dispatched at 4:25 a.m. to a reported crash with a pickup truck and several elk crossing the highway.
While investigating the crash, deputies learned a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche was traveling eastbound when it hit the herd of elk.
The driver of the Avalanche was not injured and cooperated with responding personnel at the scene.
Eleven elk died as result of the crash, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Oregon State Police said half of the elk were killed in the crash while the others were put down for humanitarian reasons.
At 6:30 a.m., all lanes of Highway 26 at the crash site were back open.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation and OSP assisted with the crash investigation and scene cleanup.
OSP Fish and Wildlife troopers responded to determine whether any of the elk meat was salvageable for processing and donation. Troopers said they are working to salvage most of the meat and distribute it to food banks and senior centers.
OSP reported the elk meat will be distributed across the state: three elk will go to Astoria, two will go to Tillamook and the rest will stay in the area.
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