Bald eagle accidently struck, killed by ambulance
CROCKETT COUNTY, Tenn. — A weekend crash claims an unlikely victim, a bald eagle. In what can only be called a freak accident, the national symbol was struck by an ambulance in Crockett County Saturday.
Paramedics with Crockett County EMS are devastated, not only because the eagle did not survive but because they were ones who struck it.
Birds of all types are typical road side features but for a bald eagle to be lounging in the middle of the road, not so much.
“They tend to be around lakes and rivers so you don’t think about them being in the middle of a city like he was,” Tel Glenn an Interpretive Naturalist at Reelfoot Lake State Park said. “But eagles are known for eating road kill.”
On their way to an emergency, paramedics came up on the majestic bird, feasting in the road.
“It was having dinner I guess you could say,” Crockett County EMS Director John Copeland said. “They tried to avoid it but these ambulances are so top heavy, there’s no way to try and avoid an animal.”
The super-duty truck collided with the bird head on but another life was also in danger.
“They couldn’t stop,” Copeland said “They wanted to stop but we had a life possibly in danger so we had to go check that.”
Trying to comprehend what had happened, paramedics called for help.
“They said ‘you’re not going to believe this’ But I said well go ahead and he said we think we just hit a bald eagle on Cavalier Drive,” Copeland said
That is when officers called the eagle experts, the TWRA and naturalists from Reelfoot Lake State Park.
“The eagle had slowed down enough where it was tired,” Copeland said “The TWRA guys caught up with it and were able to catch it with their hands and leather gloves.”
Seeming to only have minor injuries he bird was taken to be rehabilitated at Reelfoot.
“He seemed like he was fine,” Glenn said. “I really thought we were going to take him to Reelfoot and just rehab him for a few weeks and then release him on Memorial Day.”
But this national symbol never got the chance.
“Our guys are pretty tore up about it,” Copeland said “It’s not something you set out to do, it’s just a freak accident.”
Although bald eagles getting hit by vehicles is somewhat rare this is not the first time it has happened. Wildlife experts said these types of accidents usually have a better outcome.
Experts said although this bald eagle seemed to fine after the crash it’s death was probably caused by internal injuries.