(PatriotWise.com)- A man died Thursday morning on a Florida highway after running his car into an 11-foot alligator.
At approximately 12:30 a.m., a driver named John Hopkins was heading east on Country Road 672 in Lithia, which is about 20 miles southeast of Tampa. While driving on the dark road, Hopkins’ car hit the 11-foot alligator sitting in the middle of the road. Often, at night, reptiles seek the coolness of the pavement to regulate their body temperatures and fall asleep.
The impact of the crash caused Hopkins’ car to veer off the road and flip over into a ditch, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
A motorist driving past the area noticed the upturned car and notified the police.
When authorities arrived, they searched the vehicle and pronounced Hopkins dead at the scene. The alligator was also killed.
According to The National Wildlife Federation, the alligator was approximately the average size of a fully mature alligator. On average, alligators in Florida will grow upwards of 12 feet and could weigh half a ton (1,000 pounds.) The heaviest alligator ever recorded in Florida weighed 1,043 pounds.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the largest Florida alligator in length is 14-feet, 3½ inches in length on record.
It’s unclear how the alligator got to that particular area. However, the crash site is about 2 miles west of a 6,312-acre State Park, Alafia River, where alligators are in abundance.
Florida is home to over 1.3 million alligators. They can be found in every county in the state.
A Facebook page said Hopkins was a Tennessee native and an information technology supervisor for the US Census Bureau.
A Florida mom and her two children died similarly in 2018.
Amber Stanley was traveling in South Carolina when the 24-year-old hit a gator on Highway 95. The impact caused the car to veer off the road and crash into a tree. The Kia Soul burst into flames upon impact.
Hitting an alligator is not like hitting any other animal. Gators are massive and dense and act as a ramp, sending vehicles out of control.