Gator Loses Battle With Sports Car
By MORGHAN MARTELL Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Published: Apr 5, 2002
PORT CHARLOTTE - Stephanie Feola was driving through a residential area Wednesday night when she hit what she thought was an opossum.
She leaned out the door to check her tires and saw a long, green-black tail curling out from under her car.
But what she thought was a small animal turned out to be a nearly 7-foot-long alligator - and it was ready to fight back.
``The car started shaking, and it was lifting the front end up,'' she said. ``I just thought I was dead.
``I was screaming. I thought it was going to come up through the floor.''
The alligator tore through the front bumper of her 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse, leaving behind two rows of teeth marks.
Feola, 43, said she was headed home from a dinner date about 11 p.m. when she ran over the alligator at Toledo Blade and Quesada boulevards.
Feola eventually was able to throw the two-door car into reverse to get off the alligator. She drove to a nearby parking lot and called police.
As Feola waited for help to arrive, she watched the alligator snapping at passing cars.
It's not uncommon for cars to run into alligators in Florida, said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. And when an alligator is hit, its natural reaction is to fight.
``The alligator doesn't know what's going on,'' Morse said. ``He's got a brain the size of your thumb.''
During the spring, alligators are more prone to roam, he said.
The alligator was caught and killed by a trapper, Morse said.
The confrontation did about $1,000 in damage to Feola's Eclipse, which she bought in November.
``Just my luck,'' she said. ``If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.''