Three escaped lab monkeys recovered, euthanized after CDC ‘public health risk assessment’

DANVILLE -- The three monkeys that escaped following a traffic accident Friday near Danville in Montour County were euthanized after they were captured, state police say.

They were among the 100 cynomolgus macaques that were being transported in a trailer that became unhitched from a pickup truck shortly after 3 p.m. Friday in the accident at the Route 54-Interstate interchange.

The last of the three escapees was captured Saturday evening and they were then euthanized in accordance with the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines, Trooper Andrea E. Pelachick said.

The decision to euthanize followed a public health risk assessment conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, state Health Department and state police, she said.

Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was done humanely, and according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines. She did not elaborate why the monkeys were euthanized.

Earlier on Saturday, police had earlier urged people not to look for or capture any monkey, with troopers tweeting: “Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to catch, or come in contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately.”

Trooper Lauren Lesher told the Associated Press that the concern was “due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in an unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.”

Three escaped lab monkeys recovered, euthanized after CDC ‘public health risk assessment’

Crates holding live monkeys are scattered across the westbound lanes of state Route 54 at the junction with Interstate 80 near Danville, Pa., Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, after a pickup pulling a trailer carrying the monkeys was hit by a dump truck. They were transporting 100 monkeys and several were on the loose at the time of the photo.Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise via AP

The monkeys were in a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck driven by Cody M. Brooks, 31, of Keystone Heights, Fla., that collided with a dump truck on Route 54 at the Interstate 80 interchange, troopers said.

The accident occurred when Brooks attempted to make a left turn from southbound Route 54 onto the westbound on ramp of Interstate 80, they said.

The impact with the dump truck operated by Tyler G. Deeghan, 29, of Canton caused the trailer to separate and break apart, they said. Crates containing the monkeys were scattered over the roadway.

A passenger in the pickup, Daniel G. Adkins, 59, of Florahome., Fla., suffered a minor injury and was treated at the Geisinger Medical Center.

Brooks was given a written warning for a Vehicle Code violation relating to turning movements and signals, troopers said.