Two alligators found in SUV after crash, Florida cops say

A single-vehicle crash took a strange turn in Florida when officers arrived to find two large alligators “hanging from the rear window of an SUV.”

One of the reptiles was still moving, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports.

It happened Dec. 9 in Hardee County, about 70 miles southeast of Tampa, and authorities say two teens were in the Ford Explorer when it crashed.

Details of the incident were shared Dec. 17 on Facebook by the commission, which called it the “case of the week.”

“When our officer was asked to assist with a vehicle accident involving two people and two alligators, he wasn’t sure what to expect,” the commission wrote.

“Once on scene, he saw a 6 ½ -foot and 8-foot-long alligator hanging from the rear window of an SUV resting on its side. The officer immediately removed them from the vehicle and, just to be safe, secured their mouths using electrical tape.”

Officer Jerod Gadd took the extra step because “one of them was still slightly moving,” according to his report.

The SUV was being driven by an 18-year-old from Hardee County, and he told investigators he and a 17-year-old companion had been fishing that morning when alligators began chasing their lines.

It was the younger of the two teens who decided to use a large rock to kill the alligators, officials said. The pair then worked together to load them into the back of the SUV, officials said.

Their goal was to take the alligators home, officials said. However, it was not clear what they intended to do with the carcasses.

Both teens were charged with misdemeanors for taking alligators without a permit, the report states.

Investigators did not say what caused the SUV to flip over shortly after the teens left their fishing spot at the Charlie Creek bridge.

This story was originally published December 17, 2021 6:22 PM.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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