What happens when gators get in traffic near Charlotte? Two just got run over

Brunswick County sheriff's deputies watch as an alligator measuring over 12 feet ambles off N.C. 133 near Belville, N.C.
Brunswick County sheriff's deputies watch as an alligator measuring over 12 feet ambles off N.C. 133 near Belville, N.C. AP

Not one, but two alligators have stepped into traffic in the Charlotte area since Sunday night and both got hit by cars, suggesting how truly dangerous the traffic is here.

The incidents reportedly happened in Union County and just across the state line from Charlotte in York County, S.C.

Charlotte TV station WSOC says the biggest of the alligators at six foot was killed Monday night when he stepped onto Highway 74 in Union County. It happened about a mile outside of Marshville’s town limits, near Stegall Lake, it was reported.

Officers told WSOC the alligator suffered a fatal head wound from being hit by a car, the station reported.

On Sunday night, another alligator was found just south of Charlotte in York County. The (Rock Hill) Herald says the five-foot alligator was hit by a car and later died.

It was spotted northwest of Clover, near Beaver Dam Creek, officials said.

First Sgt. Jason Plemmons of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources told the Herald someone ran over the alligator Sunday on Barrett Road, near Sherwood Road.

Wildlife officers took the injured animal to a state shelter in York County, but by Monday morning it had died, officials said.

Although police do not know where the alligator came from, it probably was being kept by someone, and may have been released after it became too large, officials believe. That’s illegal in the Carolinas.

Faye Buchanan of Clover reported seeing the alligator Sunday night, according to WSOC.

“I was saying. ‘Oh, my God.’ I was calling York County and saying come get this alligator before someone gets bit,” Buchanan told WSOC. “Watch around your pools, your ponds, because they are here. They are in Clover, South Carolina.”

Wildlife officials told the Observer earlier this month that the warming of the environment wasn’t likely to introduce alligators to Charlotte’s lakes, because it lacks the wetlands and swamps they prefer for breeding and raising their young.

It is not the first time an alligator has been spotted in York County. Sightings go back to 1999.

In April 2015, two fishermen reported seeinga two-foot alligator near the Copperhead Island Access Area at Lake Wylie, and in 2009, three four-foot-long alligators were sighted near Elks Park Campground in Rock Hill, near Lake Wylie Dam.

The Herald reported state officers nabbed an eight-foot alligator in August 2002 on Lake Wylie, and in 1999, Catawba Nuclear Station employees spotted a five- to seven-foot alligator lurking in a nearby lagoon.

An alligator swam around for spectators in a pond off of No. 10 during the final round of the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing on Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.