Officer Lance Benjamin of the Covington Police Department had an unusual visitor to his patrol car on the morning of Christmas Eve, causing him, to well, crash it.
It happened around 1:45 a.m. on Thursday, when Benjamin felt an owl hit him in the face from his open driver-side window. Benjamin told reporters he could feel it scratching at his neck, clawing at his shoulder, and pecking at his head. He managed to take the sudden visitor in stride, quickly getting the car off the road into a ditch and getting the door open so his surprise passenger could be on his way. Granted, it reportedly took 45 minutes for the owl to gather itself and take off.
The Audobon Society identified the critter as a barred owl. It was such a surprise that when Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz received a text stating that Benjamin had been involved in an accident thanks to a nocturnal bird of prey, he thought it was a joke. Lentz posted on the department’s Facebook page that he next expected a text saying that Santa had been spotted on a local road. He tracked down the video from Benjamin’s body camera to be absolutely sure.
Officer Benjamin was checked out for minor scratches and wounds, given a tetanus shot and antibiotics, and returned to duty. Benjamin’s colleagues have since given him a plush owl to accompany his late night patrols.
The body cam video posted by Chief Lentz can be seen with the Facebook post at this link.
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