NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A van struck an alligator on I-10 East, police say, triggering an accident that left one man dead.
The accident happened just after 4 a.m. Friday on I-10 East near Michoud Boulevard.
Officers believe that a van was traveling eastbound in the center lane of the highway when the driver struck a 5-foot alligator on the road. The van came to a complete stop after hitting the alligator and was rear-ended by a second vehicle, New Orleans police say.
The driver of the second vehicle, identified as William Floyd, 32, of Bay St. Louis was killed in the accident.
Two individuals, the driver of the van and a passenger in the second car, were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Sara Bonilla is the daughter of the driver who hit the gator.
"I'm glad he's alive but I feel sorry for the other family, and I pray for them," says Bonilla.
Her heart is broken for the family who lost their loved one, and she says her dad is still in a lot of pain.
"He's got a broken nose. He's swollen and he's got cuts and stitches in his nose," says Bonilla.
"It's a terrible, terrible accident," says Captain Paul Trahan.
Captain Trahan of Honey Island Swamp Tours says he believes there are thousands of alligators in the marsh alongside the interstate.
He also says now is the time when the gators move around.
"There are so many different reasons. They could be mating. It could be one male chasing another out of his territory. It could also be food that's causing them to move around," says Captain Trahan.
Emergency crews on the scene say the alligator involved in the crashed crawled back into the bayou alive, but was missing a foot and part of its tail.