Truck Driver Who Wrecked Stops Hauling Animals

For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Suffolk, Va. – Today, after a hearing in Suffolk General District Court, Zachary Taylor Edwards told PETA that he quit his job—and is considering never hauling live animals again—after he crashed a truck carrying pigs to a Smithfield Foods slaughterhouse on May 24, killing 12 of them and injuring a dozen more so severely that they had to be put out of their misery onsite. Although a PETA video of the crash’s aftermath shows police officers concluding that Edwards “fell asleep” or “was going too fast,” Judge Nicole A. Belote dismissed the reckless driving charge against him.

“The justice system failed the pigs who died agonizingly on the Suffolk roadside, but Mr. Edwards can still help by permanently hitting the brakes on transporting live animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA points out that everyone has the power to help prevent such accidents by choosing not to buy flesh foods.”

Edwards drove a tractor-trailer off Godwin Boulevard into a ditch, over a culvert, and across an entrance road; struck a road sign; and then drove into another ditch, where the tractor-trailer rolled over. PETA’s video shows a Smithfield Foods worker commanding others to grab a “hot shot” so as to electroshock the surviving pigs to force them onto a replacement truck that would continue on to the slaughterhouse. Eighteen trucks hauling live pigs to that slaughterhouse have crashed, including four in 2020 alone. In response to PETA’s request, the Virginia Department of Transportation is now studying why nine of the trucks wrecked on Godwin Boulevard.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind