350-pound wild boar causes stir on busy north AL highway
PRICEVILLE, AL (WAFF) - [TAP OR CLICK TO WATCH LIVE REPORT AT 6]
A huge boar weighing more than 350 pounds made a surprise appearance at several Decatur and Priceville businesses, but things quickly took a dangerous turn as the animal darted in and out of traffic.
Priceville police officers were forced to stop the feral hog in its tracks on busy Highway 67 early Monday morning. The heavily traveled stretch of road off Interstate 65 straddles the Priceville and Decatur line and boasts a number of gas stations and restaurants.
Around 2:50 a.m., Decatur police were called to the Chevron on Highway 67/Point Mallard Parkway, located in their jurisdiction, after receiving reports that the boar charged at a customer.
It then ran across the street to a Mapco in the Priceville Police Department's jurisdiction. Officers from both agencies tried to catch it and chased it for about 20 minutes. It went into a field in front of the Comfort Inn and then ran back into the roadway.
Police shut down the highway and chased it some more, but they were ultimately forced to shoot and kill the hog because of the public safety threat. Officers wanted to prevent the animal from causing a wreck and hurting someone in the process.
Matt Spicer works with the town of Priceville and responded to the scene.
"We got a call first thing Monday morning about a hog being at the interstate and we loaded up and came up here. We thought we would be picking up somebody's pet, someone's potbellied pig. Come to find out, it was a very large wild feral hog," he said. "It was on the ground by the I-65 Birmingham South sign."
Spicer's crew had to use a backhoe to remove it.
"That's the only thing we had to pick it up. There were four grown men. The initial estimate was 350 pounds, but I think it was a little bit more. But with four grown men, we could barely pick it up to get it in the bucket," he stated.
Spicer took several pictures after the wild chain of events and posted them on Facebook. The posts have garnered thousands of comments and shares.
"I never thought it would be this big of a deal, this big of a story. It's turned out to be quite the talk of the town," Spicer added. "It's odd that it happened right here by Hardee's. There's also the Waffle House and all of the other restaurants on this stretch. There were some jokes about bacon and sausage."
Nathan Baba was passing through Priceville at the time of the incident and stopped to help crews remove the boar from the side of the road.
He posted about what he saw at the scene.
Priceville police say wild boars are becoming more of a problem in the area. Those who were involved in Monday's incident were surprised by the pig's size.
"It's very unusual to see one that large, kind of one of the first sightings. I'm 31 years old, I've never seen hogs around here. I've been talking to the locals. Some say they have seen them and in talking with animal control, they've been getting a few more reports here as of recent," Spicer explained.
He hopes that sharing the story helps spread more awareness for residents and those passing through.
"If you know anything about wild feral hogs, they are a threat. The cutters or tusks were about two or three inches long. One was partially broke off. Those things will cut you open. That's what they use and they can be deadly and cause a lot of damage," Spicer added.
The boar ordeal comes on the heels of several recent bear sightings in different parts of north Alabama.
"Folks around here became more outdoors aware because of the bear sightings. Now we're talking about hogs. It's odd because everything is coming about all at the same time. Personally, I'm a little more leery of the hogs. I think they can do a lot more damage," Spicer said.
Customers at Hardee's reacted to the story, which is generating lots of buzz, including Larry Trotter, who lives nearby.
"I live five miles from here on Indian Hills Road and there were four huge hogs killed and dumped in the creek down by house. There are hogs everywhere and people are killing them. I don't know why they dumped them in the creek. If you kill them for food, they should be dressed and used. Don't just leave them on the road or for someone to deal with. Or course here at Hardee's, police had to kill that hog. That was really something," he said.
Wildlife officials say if you do encounter a wild boar, be aware that it may be confused and agitated, making it aggressive. Back up and give it plenty of space and call authorities.
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