A Florida man has been cited in connection with a tractor-trailer crash Tuesday night that unleashed swarms of bees onto a Newark, Del. highway.
Police said the crash occurred shortly before 6:15 p.m. on the Delaware Route 896 on-ramp to I-95 north.
Adolfo Guerra, 55, of Miami, was behind the wheel of a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer hauling a flatbed loaded with crates containing about 460 beehives and 16 to 20 million live honeybees, according to investigators. The bees were being transported from Florida to Maine for pollination purposes, officials said.
As the tractor-trailer negotiated the turn of the ramp, the load of wooden crates shifted, causing the truck to overturn on its left side and strike a guardrail, according to police.
The impact released swarms of bees, which “saturated the area, causing hazardous conditions,” Delaware State Police said in a news release.
State police were forced to activate a preexisting “honeybee swarm-removal plan,” under which local beekeepers and handlers were called to the scene, along with firefighters from the Aetna Hose Hook & Ladder Company.
Working with state troopers and bee experts, firefighters were able to disperse and incapacitate the bee swarms by blasting them with water from fire-engine hose lines, police said.
Guerra was rushed to the Christiana Hospital trauma center for the treatment of minor injuries suffered in the crash as well as 50 to 100 bee stings.
Two passengers in the tractor-trailer, a 24-year-old Miami man and a 25-year-old man from Hialeah, Fla., were hospitalized with minor injuries. Each passenger also suffered between 50 and 100 bee stings, police said.
Guerra was cited for the unsafe shifting of load or cargo in connection with the crash, according to investigators.
The ramp from Route 896 north to I-95 north was closed to traffic for about 13 hours as bee experts removed the salvageable hives and the crash was investigated and cleared.