All escaped monkeys located in Montour County

·2 min read

Jan. 23—DANVILLE — All three monkeys missing following a crash Friday afternoon in Montour County have been located, state police said Saturday evening.

A truck transporting 100 cynomolgus macaques — a type of monkey — was involved in a crash near I-80 Friday afternoon. Three monkeys escaped in the incident.

One of the missing monkeys was unaccounted for most of the day on Saturday, but state police and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Saturday night all of the monkeys were located and recovered.

"All 100 of the cynomolgus macaques are accounted for; three are deceased," said Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson for the CDC, in an email. "A public health risk assessment was conducted by the CDC, Pennsylvania State Police, and Pennsylvania Department of Health and three of the monkeys were humanely euthanized according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines."

Police did not release information regarding how the final monkey was found.

Earlier Saturday, Trooper Andrea Pelachick warned residents not to go looking for the last animal, asking that "no one attempt to look for or capture the animal."

Trooper Lauren Lesher said the concern was "due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them."

According to police, Cody M. Brooks, of Keystone Heights, Florida, was driving a Dodge Ram pickup with a trailer filled with the animals on Route 54 East near the intersection with Interstate 80 just after 3 p.m. Friday. Brooks went to turn left onto the ramp for Interstate 80 West when a Peterbilt truck driven, by Tyler G. Deeghan, of Canton, struck Brook's vehicle.

The collision caused a trailer being pulled by Brooks to break loose, spilling crates full of monkeys in cages into the road. Three monkeys escaped and were all located by Saturday afternoon.

The truck had been on its way to a lab, Pelachick said. The location of the lab and the type of research for which the monkeys were destined weren't clear, but cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies. A 2015 paper posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information referred to them as the most widely used primate in preclinical toxicology studies.

The CDC, the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Game Commission all provided help during the search. The CDC said Friday the agency was providing "technical assistance" to state police. The shipment of monkeys was en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving Friday morning at New York's Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, the agency said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission did not responded to calls Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.