A 59-year-old man has died in Florida after hitting an 11-foot alligator with his car.
On Thursday 24 March, at around 12.30am, John Hopkins was driving on County Road 672 in a Tampa suburb.
According to authorities, the impact of the crash caused Hopkins' car to veer off the road and flip into a ditch.
"The vehicle veered off the road and overturned into a ditch on the north side of the road. A motorist passing by in the area noticed the car in the ditch and called 911.
"Detectives responded to the crash and Hopkins was pronounced deceased at the scene.
"The alligator was also deceased."
Hopkins was said to be a Memphis, Tennessee, native and worked for the US Census Bureau.
While it isn't clear where the alligator came from, the Alafia River state park, which sits two miles from the crash site, is known to have alligators.
The state park is 6,312 acres and has waters with alligators.
Florida is home to around 1.3 million alligators, as have been found in all 67 counties.
Drivers have been urged to be vigilant in the area, especially on Florida's Alligator Alley, a stretch of the I-75 road that is surrounded on both sides by a swamp.
The route is popular with those heading to Miami and earlier this year an alligator was found on the edge of the road.
Florida Highway Patrol noted the 12-foot-long alligator sitting close to the I-75 and attempted to keep it from entering the road, Newsweek reports.
It is illegal to feed, trap or kill alligators in Florida, and anyone that encounters the animals are urged not to approach them.
Instead the advice is to contact the FWC's Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 1‐866‐FWC‐GATOR (392‐4286).
The hotline contracts specialist alligator handlers to assist with removing large alligators that potentially pose a threat.
Advice remains around the area to remain cautious and to keep pets away from water.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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