The Worst Stench Ever

Nobody was home to sign for my kid’s new cell phone yesterday. He was so psyched to get it, so he talked me in to driving him to FedEx at Fife.

Got almost to the Tacoma Dome and it started to stink. Figured it was the usual Tacoma Aroma. But it kept getting worse. I told my kid that it hadn’t smelled this bad in years, and maybe the hot weather was holding in the stink.

Then we came upon a slowdown. Everybody was going over to the shoulders to get around a big pile of muck covering most of I-5. It stunk so bad you could barely breathe. I thought a manure truck had lost its load. Then we started driving through it. It was rotting old animal parts. We ran over a leg with a cow hoof sticking up. And a stomach. We got past the main pile but stuff had been dragged down the freeway for miles. We couldn’t get past the stench. It’s still on my car.

The truck that dumped it was nowhere in sight. No cops. No DOT response crew. When we came back the other way, traffic was backed up for miles. I feel sorry for those people who had to sit there and smell it. And the cops who were pulled right up to it directing traffic.

I would think the Ecology department had to come and make sure it was cleaned up properly. I would think it was pretty toxic and they had to wash it down with bleach or something, then control the runoff. Probably took forever.

Really wanted to know what had happened so went to the Tacoma paper and Web site. They only had a couple lines from the Associated Press. I’d think anybody else who drove through there would be interested, too. Oh well.

5 thoughts on “The Worst Stench Ever

  1. That is absolutely hilarious. A memory you and Brady shall never forget. I hope it was worth it and that he at least got an iPhone.

  2. “The Worst Stench Ever.” Perfect headline, Ed.

    The word that came to my mind was horrendous. Me and my fellow WSDOT crew members responded to the scene and had the unenviable task of cleaning up the mess.

    We’re accustomed to being called out at all hours of the day and night to respond to tragic collisions, snow and ice, floods, and any number of other traffic-impacting issues. Cleaning animal parts off a mile-long section of I-5 in oppressive heat ranks right up there with the worst parts of our job.

    The smell is only one factor that makes it difficult. The roadway is so slippery you can barely stand and the tires of our vehicles couldn’t get any traction. The visual isn’t all that pleasant, either.

    Then there’s the aftermath, which includes cleaning up our vehicles, our equipment and ourselves.

    I’ll spare you the gory details, Ed, and simply refer to your headline again: “The Worst Stench Ever.”


    Kathy Vatter, WSDOT Incident Response Team

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Nice response.
      I felt so sorry for the troopers and you guys that had to be around that more than the couple minutes I was there. I would think everyone would get sick, especially in that heat.

  3. Ugh; just the thought of that sight. Imagine driving near the truck when it happened.

  4. “Imagine driving near the truck when it happened”

    Yes, considering I had the top down on my convertible yesterday…bad…very bad.. Having grown up on a farm and had a certain amount of experience with butchering and animals who had hidden themselves and then expired, I would have quickly recognized even a whiff of that particular aroma and taken the first available exit or pulled over and put the top up. Ed you must be a “city boy”.

    Laws and penalties for improperly secured loads in the State of Washington have tightened up in the past several years, but there are still the stupid, lazy and ignorant who still manage to avoid such penalties like the driver of the truck involved here. I sincerely hope someone who witnessed this got his plate number and will call it in to the authorities.

    I am very thankful I am not headed down to my parents home in the Puyallup area until next week.

    P.S. Good lesson about why you need to start using UPS. The Bremerton UPS Center is going to start servicing the Gig Harbor area later this year. Right now it is serviced by the HUB in Fife right down the street from FedEx. Soon you will be able to pick up your items in Bremerton instead. Less traffic, no toll and so far no rendered animal parts on the highway.

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