(4 July 1991) Three Eaton men died on the evening of July 4th. James, Billy and Ashley were killed early Friday morning after their blue Ford pickup rolled over on country Road 24. Hogs and alcohol were contributing factors to the accident.
“We found several beer cans in and around the scene,” said Sheriff Andrew Watson. The driver had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit.
The events unfolded like this:
The three men spent the national holiday drinking. Later that evening they were struck with sudden cravings for pork chops. “They were popping off fireworks when Jimmy said they ought to go get some eats,” reported Billy’s girlfriend Emma.
At 11:00PM they drove ten miles to a pig farm, intent on stealing a hog. One of the men scaled the fence and tied the end of a rope to a plump quadruped. The other two men started pulling on the 400-lb beast. The stress of a struggling hog was too much for the 6 foot chain link fence, and a fourteen foot section collapsed loudly, startling the other hogs into a stampede.
“I was asleep when I heard this noise, ” explained John Wilson, owner of the farm. “I run out of the house with my shotgun and shot off both barrels in the air, and yelled at them to get on out.”
The friends loaded up their stolen pig in a flash, tied the rope to the truck, and sped down the county road in excess of 90 miles per hour. Unfortunately they forgot to buckle their seat belts, but the pig was strapped in.
Three miles down the road, the hog began making a commotion in the back of the pickup truck, causing the vehicle to swerve wildly. That threw the pig from the back of the truck, and it was dragged along the dirt road for about half a mile.
Distracted, the driver hit a soft shoulder, and the truck rolled 40 feet, ejecting all three men from the vehicle and killing them.
The victims were discovered at 5:00AM by a passing motorist. Police caution motorists to drive sensibly on dirt roads, wear seatbelts, and refrain from drinking while driving.
The pig lived.