ENID, Oklahoma – An elephant, who escaped from a circus in Enid, was hit by an SUV Wednesday night. Enid police are investigating the minor collision between the car and the 4,500 pound elephant.
Officers say a couple driving home from church on U.S. 81 Wednesday night sideswiped the bull elephant that had escaped from Family Fun Circus at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
The elephant apparently got spooked while tents were being taken down and it took off, running several blocks before colliding with the SUV.
“All of a sudden there it was. I never had a chance to hit the brakes,” said driver Bill Carpenter. “I looked over to the driver’s side but all I saw was a big body.”
The elephant nearly destroyed the couple's car when it crashed into its body and tusks.
“Afterwards we said ‘Are we supposed to cry or laugh?’ Is this an elephant? Sure enough it was,” said passenger Deena Carpenter.
But not only did the couple have a hard time believing what had just happened, so did those who called 911 to report what they had just witnessed.
“Ma’am, listen to me, the man said he is looking for an elephant from the circus. In the 20 years I’ve been here, we've never had an elephant type accident,” said Enid Police Lt. Bryan Skaggs.
It’s an accident Enid police, Bill Carpenter and his wife Deena will never forget.
“You know, hitting a deer is one thing, a 200 pound cow, but a 4,500 pound elephant…it doesn't make sense,” Carpenter said.
The couple wasn't injured but police say the elephant suffered a broken tusk, injured leg plus bumps, bruises and scratches.
After the crash, the elephant was loaded onto a semi-truck and taken to a veterinary school for an exam. Dr. Dwight Olson said the elephant doesn't appear to have serious injuries.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be investigating the incident, trying to figure out exactly how the elephant escaped.
According to In Defense of Animals, the elephant has escaped before. In June of 2008, the elephant, Kamba, and another elephant, Conga, were spooked by a storm, broke from their chains and were on the loose for three hours in WaKeeney, Kansas.
The owner of the two elephants, Doug Terranova, a Dallas, Texas-based exotic animal trainer, is facing charges from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for federal violations related to the Kansas incident and repeated failure to adequately care for elephants, tigers, lions and other animals, the IDA said.