As many as 50 turkeys bound for the slaughterhouse met an early demise Tuesday morning when the trailer in which they were traveling overturned on a rural country road near Sonora.
Some 600 turkeys were nearing the end of their journey from Coalinga to the Diestel Family Turkey Ranch in Sonora when the driver fell asleep at the wheel, according to CHP officer Mike Remmel.
Jaysen Hein, 32 out of Jamestown, was pulling two turkey-packed trailers westbound on Lyons Bald Mountain Road when he dozed off near Greenley Road.
Hein veered off the roadway and hit an embankment, causing the rear trailer to overturn. He was less than five miles from delivering the turkeys, which were to be slaughtered shortly after their arrival.
The accident blocked the roadway for about two hours while Diestel employees pulled the trailer upright.
Diestel general manager Mick Williams said considering the accident, the loss of turkey life was minimal.
One turkey made a run for it after the accident but was quickly detained.
The turkeys that died in the accident cannot be sold for Thanksgiving dinner, which will amount to a loss of $500 to $750 for Diestel, according to Williams.
The driver did not suffer any injuries as a result of the accident but was found to be at fault.