FWC investigates dead Sandhill Crane in Trinity

Posted at 5:26 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 17:26:53-04

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials confirm they are actively investigating whether a Sandhill Crane was intentionally run over in Trinity over the weekend.

Witnesses tell ABC Action News a car was driving way over the posted speed limit of 35 mph. 

"Actually, when I heard it, I didn't know what it was. I thought it was a kid for a second," Jeff Brown said.

Brown was at Trinity College off Welbilt Boulevard playing disc golf when he said a car zoomed past and hit the family of cranes. 

One of the baby birds died. 

Al Depoutot, dean of students at Trinity College, said the birds are like an unofficial mascot.

"The birds have been around since I've been here, which is like 20 years," he said.

This particular family is the second generation of birds, he said. 

Sandhill Cranes are protected in Florida and are considered threatened. 

It's not uncommon for cars to hit the birds because the birds eat along side of the roads, but FWC officials say they can't go after the drivers unless they can prove the act was intentional. 

Brown tells us he even went to the younger man's house.

"The dad was actually outside and I talked to him, and I told him what happened and he just said, 'Alright,'" he said.

An investigation by FWC can take weeks, months to even longer. 

If you suspect you hit a protected bird, and it is still alive, you can call the FWC tip line at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Pasco County Sheriff's Office tells us it has not had complaints of speeding in that area.