Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Turtles and other Wildlife

19 June 2009

Harrison Township, Michigan

Two men injured by drunken driver while helping turtle

Police say a Mount Clemens man was driving drunk when he struck and nearly killed two men who got out of their pickup truck today on Jefferson Avenue to help a turtle cross the road. Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said the accident happened at around 1 a.m. today. Investigators think the two victims were trying to help a turtle cross Jefferson near Jack Street. Hackel said "it's not uncommon" to see a turtle in the road: "There's a lot of that going on because turtles are trying to find place to bury their eggs." A deputy with the Sheriff's Office discovered the two injured men and their vehicle, which was towing a boat, while patrolling along Jefferson near Metropolitan Parkway, officials said. The truck was parked in the middle of the roadway and the deputy stopped to investigate, according to authorities. The deputy found one of the victims, unconscious and laying in a ditch on the west side of the road. He found the other victim lying against the boat's trailer, Hackel said. Both had sustained serious injuries, he said. The deputy also found damage on the boat that indicated it had been struck by another vehicle, police said.

Source: The Detroit News

08 June 2009

Spencer, Massachussetts

Turtle on route 9 caused 3-vehicle crash


An erratic driver traveling on Route 9 Saturday evening didn’t stop in time when he approached a backup near Donnelly Road, causing a three-vehicle crash that left some people with minor injuries, according to police. More than 10 cars were backed up because someone was trying to move a large turtle in the roadway, said Spencer Police Sgt. Michael L. Befford. A 67-year-old Shrewsbury man driving a 1996 Ford Mustang was driving erratically and swerving through lanes when he collided into a Kia sport utility vehicle, forcing the Kia to rear-end a Toyota 4Runner. Gene H. Flanders, who was driving the Mustang, was injured and taken by ambulance to UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus in Worcester. Sgt. Befford said he was treated and released and will be summoned to East Brookfield District Court on charges of driving to endanger and marked lanes violation. A backseat passenger in the Kia, 19-year-old Ashley Kiefer of East Brookfield, and the driver of the Toyota, Sydney B. Thomas, 36, of Webster, also were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. All the drivers and passengers were wearing their seat belts, Sgt. Befford said. The accident, which occurred a few minutes after 5 p.m. Saturday, caused significant delays. The Spencer Fire Department and Leicester Police Department assisted Spencer police at the scene. The turtle was saved.

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

02 May 2009

Hanson, Kentucky

Motor vehicle accident resulting in death in Hanson Friday night


Witnesses tell iSurf News that late Friday night there was an accident with a death on highway 260 at the sharp bend coming out of Hanson. A white vehicle possibly struck what appears as a large snapping turtle in the road exiting the roadway and flipping the vehicle onto its roof. A towing vehicle was utilized to place it on its wheels so that the male driver could be extricated. This was a single vehicle accident with no other passengers in the vehicle. Kentucky State Police, Ambulances, Hopkins County Coroner, and Hanson Emergency Response personnel were on site and with help of the witness was able to release the gentleman from the vehicle. It was not possible to determine if a seatbelt was in use.


20 June 2007

Upper Township, New Jersey

Woman wrecks car to save turtle

An errant turtle caused a single-car accident Tuesday that sent a Cape May woman to the hospital. State Police in the Bass River Township barracks said Saranne Goldinger, 65, of Cape May, was driving north on the Garden State Parkway at about 3:25 p.m. Tuesday when she swerved to avoid hitting a turtle that was crossing at mile marker 21.5. Goldinger's four-door sedan left the parkway, plowed through a guard rail, hurtled down an embankment and rolled onto its roof.

Goldinger was taken by Upper Township Rescue Squad to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Goldinger was wearing a seat belt, police said. Motorists trailing Goldinger came to her assistance. The vehicle suffered extensive damage, police said. That part of the parkway is heavily wooded and is home to many animals, such as raccoons that occasionally cross into traffic. “You don't get too many turtles. Mainly deer,” Trooper Scott Farkas said. Despite Goldinger's efforts, things did not go any better for the turtle Tuesday. A car trailing Goldinger's flattened it, Farkas said. “All of that for nothing,” he said.


08 March 2007

New Orleans, Louisiana

Louisiana SPCA officer wrecks $60,000 vehicle to save turtle


While trying to avoid running over a turtle, a Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officer totaled a $60,000 animal transport vehicle Wednesday. The driver, Sali Magee, and the turtle were unharmed, SPCA said. "When you look at the pictures of the vehicle following the accident, it's amazing that she wasn't seriously injured," said Laura Maloney, LASPCA executive director. "We're grateful that Sali is okay. We never want our staff to put themselves in harm's way. Sali's concern about the turtle highlights the compassion routinely shown by our officers." Magee was driving down River Road when she spotted the turtle. She slammed on the brakes and lost control of the vehicle, which flipped into a ditch. The vehicle's airbag did not deploy. Magee was wearing a seatbelt.

Source: Dolan Media Newswires

25 June 2006

Windham, New Hampshire

Turtle rescue causes four car crash

A woman who stopped to rescue a turtle on Interstate 93 is blamed for triggering a four-car crash Saturday. Two drivers were taken to area hospitals for treatment of non life-threatening injuries. Two others were not hurt though their cars suffered damage in the crash. The accident slowed traffic on the highway for more than an hour. State police say no one has been charged in connection with the accident. Police say the woman who rescued the turtle had left the scene before police could identify her.

Source: Union-Leader

22 May 2006

Napoleonville, Louisiana

Man killed after car strikes alligator

A man was killed when he lost control of his car after the vehicle struck and killed an alligator that was crossing the highway, state police said. Samuel Burgess, 26, of Bayou Lourse, was pronounced dead at the scene about 12:15 a.m. Sunday after the 1995 Ford Taurus he was driving slammed into a tree along Louisiana Highway 662, Trooper Rodney Hyatt said.


07 June 2005

North Fort Myers, Florida

Six year old runs on road to rescue turtle, hit by car

Six-year-old Emily Kent saw the turtle struggling to cross Old US 41, a busy two-lane road that snakes through North Fort Myers. Her mother, Geraldine Kent, pulled the family's Jeep Cherokee off to the side of the road so they could help the turtle. Before her mother knew it, Emily had jumped out to scurry to the turtle's aid. An unsuspecting motorist hit the child - Emily died from the injuries. Click here for the full story.

Source: News-Press

23 April 2005

Clewiston, Florida

Pregnant woman dies in canal

A Jupiter, Fl. eight-month pregnant woman died when the vehicle she was a passenger in flipped into a canal along SR80, 10 miles west of LaBelle. Angela Chinni, 34 was a front seat passenger in a 2002 Volvo driven by Derek Cinni, 31. The FHP reports that Mr. Chinni, westbound on SR80 was trying to avoid a turtle in the road and lost control about 12 noon Saturday, flipping into the canal on the south side of SR80. There are no guard rails on this section of the highway. Mr. Cinni suffered minor injuries and was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital. 19-month old Koby Chinni, in a rear seat child restraint, was also transported to Lee Memorial for minor injuries. All parties were wearing seat belts.

Source: Newszap

02 July 2004

Jacksonville, Arkansas

Jacksonville High School Student Killed


A Jacksonville High School student was killed and two area teen-agers were injured in a car accident on Friday, July 2, according to police reports. Kandace Laberdee, 17, of 2027 Dean Martin Dr. in Cabot was killed after she swerved to avoid a turtle at 3:55 p.m. at 303 W. Carmichael Rd. in Jacksonville. Laberdee lost control of the 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier she was driving after she tried to avoid the turtle. The Cavalier left the road and hit two trees and a house. Two passengers were injured in the accident. Seth Farler, 18, of 18 Talbert Dr. in Cabot and Amanda Phelan, 17, of 3011 T. P. White Dr. in Jacksonville were taken to Rebsamen Medical Center for treatment. It was raining, and the road was wet. None of the teen-agers were wearing seat belts. Laberdee was the daughter of Karen Laberdee of Cabot and Randy Laberdee of Mayflower, according to her obituary. She was a member of Apostolic Pentecostal Church in North Little Rock. Her funeral was held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, at the church. She will be buried at Mayflower Cemetery.

30 June 2004

Martin Co., Florida

Fatal auto accident in South Florida caused by motorist avoiding a turtle

The Alliance has been informed that a young woman was fatally injured in an auto accident in Martin Co., Florida when she quickly swerved her car to avoid a turtle in the highway.  Again, this tragic incident shows clearly that turtles and other wildlife crossing roads may cause significant risks to motorists.  The construction of an ecopassage at Lake Jackson may prevent this type of accident from occurring in this area.  Click here for the full story.  

Source: Herald Wire Services

13 May 2004

Indian River County, Florida

Turtle causes auto accident on Interstate 95

The Alliance has learned that a Florida redbelly turtle attempting to cross busy Interstate 95 was the cause of an automobile accident.  This turtle was hit by a truck which propelled the turtle through the windshield of another vehicle.  Luckily the passenger seat of the van where the turtle landed was empty and the driver of the van could safely stop his vehicle.  Both the turtle and the driver of the van were unharmed.  This incident demonstrates that wildlife attempting to cross roads can be dangerous to motorists.  Click here for the full story.     


30 June 2003

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Woman dies after trying to avoid turtle

LouAnn Clarissa Kilpatrick was killed by a turtle just outside of Grand Rapids. The 66-year-old swerved to avoid hitting a turtle and died when her car careened off the road.

11 Feb 2003

Sydney, Australia

Turtle saved but driver hurt

A truck driver who stopped to move a turtle off a busy road has been injured in a collision with a car.


Source: The Australian

4 Dec 2002

New South Wales, Australia

5 year old girl killed as dad helps turtle cross road

A FIVE-year-old girl has been killed after her father stopped his vehicle on a highway to help a turtle. New South Wales police said the 27-year-old Moruya man and his daughter were on the Princes Highway near Bodalla, when the tragedy happened. The man spotted a turtle crossing the road and pulled over to move it to safety, police said. He instructed his daughter to stay in the car, but it is believed the five-year-old girl undid her child restraint and got out. She stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle, being driven by a 36-year-old Potato Point man, police said. A passing motorist stopped to administer CPR until the arrival of ambulance officers, but the girl died a short time later at Moruya Hospital. Police said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the crash yesterday morning. Far South Coast Local Area Commander Superintendent Rick Mawdsley said all those involved were being offered counselling.

Source: The Australian

27 June 2002

Nova Scotia, Canada

Pedestrian turtle causes motorway accident

Canadian police say a turtle crossing the road has caused a motorway accident. Police say a driver slowed to look at the turtle as it crossed the Trans-Canada Highway in central Nova Scotia. The driver on Highway 104 near Truro then accidentally swerved into a passing car as he looked at the 40 cm turtle. All those involved in the accident were taken to hospital. None was seriously injured. Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers gave the uninjured turtle to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Bible Hill.

Source: Halifax Daily News

19 June 2002

Palm Beach, Florida

Man killed aiding turtle

A Margate man was hit and killed while trying to save a turtle from being run over on Boynton Beach Boulevard early Tuesday morning.


Source: Sun Sentinel

28 Sept 2001

Leon Co., Florida

Alligator struck by vehicle at Lake Jackson on US 27

A second accident occurred at US Highway 27 on 28 September 2001 when a seven foot alligator was struck by a vehicle.  The alligator was killed, the vehicle sustained minor damages.

Source: Aide to Commissioner Dan Winchester

02 December 2000

Buffalo, New York

Vehicle accident blamed on turtle

Troopers investigated an accident on Clarence Center Road. Vehicle one stopped abruptly to avoid a turtle. The driver of car number one said car number two drove into the back end of car number one. The driver of car number two said the driver of car number one stopped to avoid the turtle in the road and then backed up, hitting car number two. Troopers said the turtle was "unable to offer any information."


12 June 2000

Leon Co., Florida

Softshell  turtle rescue causes accident along US Highway 27

Lake Jackson Ecopassage Alliance biologist Matt Aresco witnessed a 3-vehicle accident along US Highway 27 on 12 June 2000. The crash occurred when a vehicle stopped to avoid a large softshell turtle that was attempting to cross the highway. 


Source: Dr. Matthew Aresco


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