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Man, 59, dies after driving into 11-foot alligator on Lithia roadway, deputies say

The impact caused the vehicle to veer off the roadway and flip before settling in a ditch on the north side of the road.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Mar. 24|Updated Mar. 24

LITHIA — A 59-year-old man died Thursday morning after he hit an 11-foot alligator on Balm-Picnic Road, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

The crash happened around 12:30 a.m. about 2 miles west of County Road 39 on Balm-Picnic Road, also known as County Road 672, deputies said. The impact with the gator caused the vehicle to veer off the roadway and flip before settling in a ditch on the north side of the road.

The driver, John Hopkins of Lithia, was pronounced dead at the scene. The alligator also died.

Deputies responded to the crash after another driver passed the wreckage and called 911.

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