PAYNE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Dash camera footage released to KFOR Tuesday afternoon shows the moment a vulture ran into a highway patrolman’s windshield while he was en route to a call.
It was a close call on the highway for trooper Anthony Harper after the bird slammed into his windshield. The vulture hit the passenger side of his windshield when he was on the way to a wreck call. It left a mess of feathers and glass in his front seat. Harper is OK and even laughed about the situation when we spoke to him Tuesday.
“It was quite unexpected,” Harper said.
The dash camera caught the moment the vulture brought his response to the call to a screeching halt.
“It sounded like a gun going off inside of my patrol unit,” he said.
According to Harper, it’s not uncommon to see vultures on the Payne County roads. However, this one was out of the ordinary.
“They see you coming and typically they take off,” Harper said. “Well, it didn’t happen in this instance.”
He said he saw it as he approached and even slowed down a bit as he came to the top of the hill.
“Unexpectedly, it stayed there way to long and took flight at the last second,” Harper said. “It banked right back into my patrol car.”
As for the inside of his car after the impact, it was a mess.
“Glass and feathers were everywhere. It looked like somebody had a pillow fight inside of my patrol car,” he said. “I was glad that the bird actually impacted the passenger side of the car, and at the same time, I had on a pair of sunglasses so that protected my eyes.”
This gave Harper the ability to move to the shoulder of the road. He even ended up getting out of his patrol car, trying to comprehend what had just happened.
“Initially, I was like, ‘What was that?'” he said.
He was able to laugh about it on Tuesday afternoon. He even said some of his colleagues have gotten after him about the situation.
“We raz (sic) each other as much as possible when things like this happen, just showing the love,” he said.
However, he said there’s still a lesson to be learned. It’s something he teaches to newer, younger drivers about driving with anticipation.
“My anticipation was that that bird would take off ahead of time, but sometimes things don’t always work out that way,” Harper said.
It was a two-hour job to clean his car out, and Harper said he still has some work to do with cleaning out the glass. Ironically enough, he said the wreck he was on his way to involved a deer in the road. He did not end up making it to that call, but another agency took care of it for him.