Crime

Gator hanging from chain on Florida overpass, struck by truck

A Penske truck driver didn’t need coffee to keep him awake when his windshield suddenly shattered in Jackson County a few hours before sunrise.

Because it’s Florida, it wasn’t a bird, rock or piece of regular road debris that busted the glass. It was an alligator — a butchered one someone had decided to hang by a chain around its neck above an Interstate 10 overpass a bit north of Tallahassee.

“The tail was already removed. They probably took it for the meat,” said Bekah Nelson, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. “It came down. Nobody was injured. I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

The Penske truck, which received extensive damage to its front end and windshield, was traveling west on I-10 through Jackson County when it struck the gator dangling from the Birchwood Road overpass. Nelson said it appeared the gator hadn’t been dead long. It’s illegal to kill, injure, possess or capture an American alligator without a permit from the state.

Nelson said her agency, which late last week released details of the May 8 incident, finds a poached gator every once in a while but rarely on dangerous and public display. The wildlife commission is offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information should call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

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