Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gator stops Sunday traffic along U.S. 301 in Manatee County

A 400-pound alligator almost made it across U.S. 301 in Manatee County on Sunday but stopped and wouldn’t move.

NATALIE NEYSA ALUND | Bradenton Herald

A 400-pound alligator almost made it across U.S. 301 in Manatee County on Sunday but stopped and wouldn’t move.

MANATEE — He was so close.

The 400-pound alligator almost made it across the highway.

But for some reason the 9-foot-9 scaly beast stopped in its tracks smack in the middle of the right southbound lane of U.S. 301, south of Tallevast Road.

And it just wouldn't move.

So at about 5:40 p.m. Sunday, a passing motorist dialed 911.

Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies pulled in behind the gator, turned on their emergency lights and set up flares.

Still, it just wouldn't move. So deputies Lee Harrington, Garrett Johnson, Tim Hartman and Steven Luke shut down the lane and directed motorists around the alligator.

Most of the curious passers-by slammed on their brakes, looked out their car windows and laughed.

Eventually, Florida Wildlife Commission state alligator trappers Bob Cowles and Ken Cowles showed up, tied up the reptile and loaded him into their truck.

The gator didn't go without a fight, though.

When Bob Cowles put a rope around his neck, the reptile violently began to flop around on the highway.

He hissed, did a few rolls, then ended up in a grassy area along the highway where the trappers eventually were able to put tape around its mouth.

Ken Cowles said the alligator would be transported to Miami-Dade County.

So far this year, Cowles said he's trapped about 75 alligators in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Last year, he corralled about 250.

Gator stops Sunday traffic along U.S. 301 in Manatee County 05/18/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 18, 2009 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]