Rush hour drivers who took the County Line Road exit of the Suncoast Parkway saw an unusual sight on Wednesday as a wild emu ran from law enforcement officers trying to apprehend the bird.
Chad Morrison, a Hernando County deputy and livestock officer, was armed with a pole and set up a makeshift fence, hoping to guide the animal into the back of his vehicle.
The emu was nearly nabbed but then started running in the opposite direction toward the toll booth.
A driver in a BMW hit the bird, and sent the emu flying into the air before landing on the grass median between the parkway and the exit ramp. The emu died and was promptly wrapped in a white sheet and removed from the road by Animal Services Officer Linda Christian.
Morrison said the BMW driver was not injured, and appeared to have slowed down when he saw the advancing bird. The car had a significant dent in the hood, and a headlight popped out of the socket.
Morrison said they did their best to try to save the emu, adding the scenario was not a regular occurrence.