TAMPA — Police reports are often rich with jargon — phrases like "victim succumbed to his injuries," or "victim advised that defendant did knowingly and willingly enter his home without permission."
Not so for a report filed by Tampa police Officer Terry Ashe, who wrote a colorful narrative about an alligator that attacked his city-owned Ford Taurus in Pasco County on Oct. 27.
"As I was driving down the single lane, dirt road, adjacent to an old cemetery, I observed a large, menacing, dark object lying in the road obstructing my right of way," Ashe wrote. "With rain pouring down, mist and fog shrouding my vision, large oak trees laden with Spanish moss hanging down around my vehicle, I was uncertain as to what lay in my path."
Ashe had come upon a big alligator, or in his words, "this menacing man eater."
He eased his vehicle toward the "ancient reptile" to scare him off, but the gator evidently took that as a threat and lurched forward, Ashe wrote.
"The monster bit down on the front left bumper and attempted his mighty death roll. The vehicle shook violently from side to side, my head bouncing from the drivers side window to the headrest," he wrote. "At one point, it felt as if the vehicle was up on two wheels. After what seemed an eternity, the prehistoric monster appeared to be tiring."
Ashe put the car into reverse and slammed on the accelerator.
"The mighty roar of the engine and the spinning of tires in the wet sand was just too much for the man eater to manage. After letting go and emitting a loud roar of triumph, he crawled off the roadway."
As for Ashe, he was "quite shaken, face drained of blood and soaked with sweat."
He drove away past the beast, but not without "one last look in the rearview mirror."
"I knew that I had just escaped the mighty jaws of death."
Back home, Ashe inspected the teeth holes in his bumper. Damage was estimated at approximately $500.
Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said his flowery narrative was just for fun. In an official report used for public records, the officer was a bit more straightforward.
"Officer Ashe was driving home in Pasco County when he observed an alligator blocking the roadway. He attempted to use his vehicle to scare it out of the road. The alligator became agitated and bit his bumper causing approximately $500 worth of damage. Report will be routed to City Claims/Risk Management."