Driver fined after truck tipped, spilled millions of bees

Bees swarm onto a beekeepers truck along northbound Interstate 5 after beehives spilled off of a semitruck on Friday, April 17, 2015 north of Seattle. The truck had just merged onto Interstate 5 around 3:30 a.m. Friday when it tipped on its side, dumping its load of 448 hives. The driver was not hurt, but the bees became more active as the sun rose and the weather warmed. (Mark Mulligan /The Herald via AP)

LYNNWOOD, Wash. (AP) — The driver of a semitrailer carrying more than 13 million honeybees that overturned and scattered hives on a Washington highway last month has been fined $550.

A firefighter spays  bee hives that spilled off of a semitruck along northbound Interstate 5 on Friday, April 17, 2015 north of Seattle. The truck had just merged onto Interstate 5 around 3:30 a.m. Friday when it tipped on its side, dumping its load of 448 hives.  The driver was not hurt, but the bees became more active as the sun rose and the weather warmed.   (Mark Mulligan /The Herald via AP)
A firefighter spays bee hives that spilled off of a semitruck along northbound Interstate 5 on Friday, April 17, 2015 north of Seattle. The truck had just merged onto Interstate 5 around 3:30 a.m. Friday when it tipped on its side, dumping its load of 448 hives. The driver was not hurt, but the bees became more active as the sun rose and the weather warmed. (Mark Mulligan /The Herald via AP)

The wreck backed up traffic for miles on Interstate 5 north of Seattle. Beekeepers scrambled to save as many bees as they could, but eventually firefighters sprayed foam on the hives, killing the insects used for pollinating crops as a safety measure.

The Daily Herald newspaper in Everett reports that the Washington State Patrol cited the truck driver with second-degree negligent driving. Trooper Mark Francis says the 36-year-old Idaho man was driving too fast for conditions and the weight of the truck.

The state Department of Transportation is billing his insurer $6,400 for the costs of traffic control and crews needed to clear the highway.

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