Florida man runs over 11-foot alligator with his truck after seeing it dragging his elderly neighbor into pond

News & Politics

A Florida man is being hailed as a hero after using his truck to run over an alligator that was dragging his neighbor into a pond in Collier County.

Walter Rudder said he was driving his truck when he saw his friend and neighbor, Rick Fingeret, being attacked by an alligator in his neighborhood in Naples.

“Driving, and we saw a man laying on the ground, waving his arms. We pulled over, and I got out of the car and saw that an alligator had him by the leg,” Rudder said. “It was dragging him into the pond.”

Rudder says his friend, who is 67 years old, begged him to run over the alligator in hopes that it would release his leg. The plan worked.

The alligator released the man and went back into the pond.

The recording of the call to 911 was obtained by the Naples Daily News. Fingeret can be heard on the recording say that there’s “two big bites” in his thigh. A woman at the scene wrapped a shirt his thigh and then turned on her hazard lights to wait for emergency personnel to arrive. It took them about six minutes to get to Fingeret.

Fingeret was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers to be treated for his injuries. He said that he had been walking his two Labrador dogs when he was attacked and that they never left his side throughout the entire ordeal.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had trappers relocate the alligator after capturing it. They measured it at 11 feet long.

Fingeret later told WINK-TV that he had hit the alligator on the head several times, but the animal only bit down harder.

“Alarming is what I would say,” Rudder said simply.

The commission used the incident to remind residents in Florida that alligator mating season runs from May until June and attacks are more likely during that time. They cautioned residents to stay away from bodies of water, keep their pets on leashes, and never approach alligators.

On average, there are about seven unprovoked alligator attacks on humans every year in Florida. Very few attacks lead to fatalities, and most victims are male.

Here’s more about the alarming incident:

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