PLANTATION, Fla. (CNN) – An owl had a close call after being hit by an SUV on the Florida Turnpike.
When Sonji Coney Williams looked into the grill of her SUV and saw a pair of huge, blinking, yellow eyes she thought she would faint.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life,” Williams says.
Thursday night, Williams was headed south on the Florida turnpike.
“I was driving about 60 mph, he never moved, and so, I said, ‘Oh, my God, I hit a bird,’ and I felt so bad but it was very dark and we didn’t pull over,” she says.
Williams assumed the bird immediately became road kill. Instead, he survived and slipped through the grill of the SUV.
“There was a family that pulled in front of my parking space and flagged me down and said ‘Don’t move, don’t move, you have something in the grill of your truck.’ I said, ‘Yes, what is it?’ And they said, ‘It’s an owl.’ And I said, ‘An owl?’”
Williams called Florida Fish and Wildlife for help. An officer was able to open the hood and free the bird.
The trapped bird was a great horned owl, common to central Florida.
Williams says she feels guilty for hitting it and it even made her shed a few tears after finding out what happened.
Officers say the owl appeared to be in good shape and didn’t suffer any injuries.