Elderly Driver Strikes, Kills 12-Foot Gator on I-275

The 80-year-old St. Petersburg woman's Kia collided with an alligator that had wandered on to the Interstate.

A 12-foot-long alligator out after midnight on I-275 proved no match for cars traveling along the highway south of Gandy Boulevard in St. Petersburg.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the gator made its way on to the interstate not once, but twice June 17, and was struck both times.

The first time, he walked away, fleeing into the woods. The second time, he was not so lucky.

The incident began around 12:22 a.m. Sunday when the gator was struck by a 2012 Toyota driven by Bruce Foley, 42, of Temple Terrace. Foley was traveling northbound when he hit the gator.

After being struck, the alligator fled into the woods on the east side of the interstate. Foley was not injured but his car was damaged.

The big gator tried to cross the highway again.

The big boy re-emerged about a half-hour later on the southbound side of the road. This time it was struck by a 2004 Kia driven by Verna Christopherson, 80, of St. Petersburg.

The second strike was fatal for the gator, the highway patrol said in a media release. A local trapper later removed its remains.

Christopherson was uninjued, though she is sure to have a story to share with her grandkids. Her vehicle was damaged.

Neither driver was injured, the highway patrol reported.

No word on whether either driver will get to take home some gator bites.

Gwen Thomas June 18, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I hope Mrs. Verna gets an alligator purse!
Linda Hersey June 18, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Maybe shoes to match!


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