Florida Man Thwarts Gator Attack by Running It Over with His Car

by Vern Evans

Florida resident Walter Rudder was driving home with his wife on Friday evening when he saw a large alligator dragging his friend, Rick Fingeret, across the street by his leg. So, Rudder did what any good neighbor would do: He stepped on the gas, drove onto the sidewalk, and ran over the gator with his car. The alligator then released its grip on Fingeret and ran back into a nearby pond.

Fingeret, who suffered two large bites to his thigh, was transported by ambulance to Lee Memorial Hospital and treated for his injuries, according to an incident report from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded soon after, and a licensed trapper removed the alligator from the waterbody and relocated it.

The attack took place inside a Naples neighborhood known as the Quarry Community around 8:40 p.m. Fingeret was out walking his two dogs near one of the neighborhood ponds when “a gator came out of nowhere and bit his leg,” the CCSO report reads. Fingeret’s two dogs stayed by his side while the big gator drug him toward the pond, his leg trapped in its jaws.

When Rudder and his wife came driving by, Fingeret flagged them down and cried out for help. Rudder’s wife called 911 while Fingeret told Rudder to run the gator over. A recording of that 911 call obtained by Outdoor Life helps explain what happened next.

“We have a man down, and an alligator on him,” Rudder’s wife tells the dispatcher after sharing their location. A man in the background yells “hurry up!” while two dogs bark incessantly. The dinging of a seatbelt alarm is also audible, and after the woman says, “he’s right there,” you can hear the unmistakable thud of an automobile colliding with an alligator.

“Did the alligator let go of him?” the dispatcher asks her.

“Yes, he did, because we drove over the alligator with a car.”

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Over the next five or six minutes, Rudder’s wife stays on the phone while they wait for first responders to arrive. With Fingeret’s dogs panting into the receiver, she keeps the dispatcher updated on the victim’s condition and explains that the alligator is now long gone after retreating into the pond. The dispatcher tells the Rudders how to stop the bleeding, and they wrap a shirt tightly around the victim’s thigh. A still-conscious Fingeret keeps talking throughout the call and at one point he thanks his neighbors for their help. The woman hangs up on the dispatcher when an ambulance arrives.

When asked about the incident by CNN, Rudder only needed one word to summarize what it felt like to run over a gator: “Alarming, is what I would say.”   

Read the full article here

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