A tractor-trailer hauling 30 horses overturned on Turner Turnpike this morning, and 11 of the horses died, troopers said.
With the help of several people who stopped to help, about 19 horses survived and were herded into a makeshift pen at N Sooner Road and NE 122.
The truck driver, who was not hurt, fell asleep at the wheel driving west on Turner Turnpike about 6 a.m. and crashed into the median on the east side of Interstate 35, patrol Lt. James Watson said.
Trooper Jerrad Real was the first to arrive and found horses badly hurt and stacked inside the overturned trailer. Real said he used his gun to put down three of the horses. Two were euthanized by veterinarians near a makeshift pen at Sooner and NE 122.
Passersby stopped to help herd the horses as traffic was shut down on the interstate.
"With our arms, a lot of shooing and yee-hawing we helped push the horses across the roadway over the hill to NE 122," Real said.
Jeanette Zeller, of Oklahoma City, helped corral the horses until the survivors could be taken in a trailer by Oklahoma City Animal Control workers to another location.
Zeller said she took halters and lead ropes to the scene to help round up the horses. One horse was found alive in the trailer and Zeller walked the horse from the Turner Turnpike median to the pen.
"A lot of other volunteers showed up," Zeller said.
The tractor-trailer driver declined to comment and was interviewed by troopers.
Oklahoma City animal control officers helped load the surviving horses onto a trailer. The horses then were loaded onto another trailer to be taken to Perkins in Payne County, said Catherine English, animal control spokeswoman.