Turtle flies into van windshield on I-95

By Adam L. Neal staff writer
May 13, 2004

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY Ralph Glaister was shell-shocked when a flying turtle crashed through his windshield Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 95.

"There was a loud crash. When I looked up, there was glass all over me and a turtle sitting beside me in my van," the 45-year-old Deerfield Beach resident said. "It seemed like it happened in slow motion."

Luckily, both Glaister and the cooter box turtle were not seriously injured. The turtle suffered minor cuts to its tail and back legs, but the shell was not damaged.

Glaister walked away without a scratch.

Glaister was more worried about getting immediate help for the 1-foot-long turtle than fixing his windshield after the crash.

"It is amazing (the turtle) wasn't injured," he said. "He came flying through the windshield at 70 miles per hour. Not many things can live going through a windshield like that."

He was driving to visit his girlfriend, Vero Beach resident Tracy MacLean, about 5 p.m. when the incident happened.

Glaister was heading north on I-95 just south of Indrio Road in St. Lucie County when he noticed the turtle attempting to cross the interstate.

"I saw the turtle crossing the road when it was slightly clipped by the truck in front of me, which sent it flying into the air and through my windshield," he said.

"You couldn't have planned it better. He hit the glass on the passenger side, busted that out and landed next to me."

Instead of stopping and risking more time waiting for help, Glaister took the stowaway to MacLean's house and contacted the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

An Indian River County Animal Control officer and sheriff's deputy checked the turtle for injuries.

"I have heard about a lot of four-legged animals going through windshields, but never, ever, a turtle," said Detective Joe Flescher, sheriff's office spokesman.

Glaister plans on releasing the turtle into a pond near MacLean's house, he said.

"I watched it happen and I am still amazed and surprised," he said. "How am I going to explain this story?"