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Circus elephant won’t forget nighttime collision with SUV

BY the associated press Modified: November 6, 2009 at 6:17 am •  Published: November 6, 2009
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ENID — A runaway elephant hit by a sport utility vehicle Wednesday night blended in with the roadway and couldn’t be seen until the last second, the driver said Thursday.

"Didn’t have time to hit the brakes,” driver Bill Carpenter said Thursday. "At the very last second I said ‘elephant!’”

Carpenter, 68, said he swerved his sport utility vehicle and ended up sideswiping the 29-year-old female Asian elephant on U.S. 81 in Enid.

"So help me Hannah, had I hit that elephant, not swerved, it would have knocked it off its legs, and it would have landed right on top of us,” he said. "We’d have been history.”

The couple, who own a wheat farm, were not injured. But the 8-foot, 4,500-pound elephant, identified as Kamba by the animal protection group In Defense of Animals, was being examined Thursday for a broken tusk and a leg wound. A local veterinarian said the elephant appeared to have escaped major injury.

"I thought, ‘This can’t be happening,’” Carpenter said. "Out here you could hit a deer or a cow, but this can’t be happening. The good Lord was with us.”

The elephant’s tusk punched through the side of the SUV, tearing up sheet metal, he said.

After the vehicle sideswiped the elephant, Carpenter’s wife, Deena, flagged down some people and used their cell phone to call police.

"The dispatcher didn’t believe her,” Carpenter said.

Enid veterinarian Dwight Olson said the elephant was hiding in some bushes just off the highway when he arrived shortly after the accident.


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