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MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ) – Police are investigating if a driver intentionally plowed into a flock of geese that was crossing a Macomb County intersection, killing several birds.READ MORE: The Detroit Zoo To Host Its Final Weekend Of Family-Friendly Halloween Event 'Zoo Boo' Oct. 22-24
The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. Thursday on northbound Gratiot Avenue and Wellington Crescent, just south of the Clinton River at the Clinton Township-Mount Clemens border.
Witnesses said several vehicles were stopped on Gratiot, allowing the flock of white geese to cross the road, when a motorist “plowed right through them and kept going.” By some witness accounts, the motorist actually appeared to speed up before striking the birds. Lynn Anderson said the whole thing unfolded right in front of her eyes.
“We were slowing because we saw a sea of geese coming across, there had to be 30 or 40 of them,” Anderson told WWJ’s Scott Ryan. “I’m sitting two car lengths behind a little SUV and that person just hit the gas and plowed right through them. No brake lights, just kept on going.”
Feathers were flying everywhere as Anderson ran from her car and sat under a tree with some of the injured geese until a sheriff’s deputy arrived.
“The carnage was horrific. The birds that were remaining, a couple of them were still alive though they were flailing,” she said. “Another man pulled up in his car and he actually pulled out a hunting knife and cut their heads off to put them out of their misery.”
Four of the geese died. One was so badly injured, it had to be euthanized.
To Anderson, there’s no question this was an intentional act.
“How do you miss 40 huge, 3-foot-tall white geese? Had to have major damage to their car, and then just kept on going. If this was indeed an accident, they would have stopped,” she said. “I don’t believe this was accidental.”
Anderson said the geese are like the city’s unofficial mascots.READ MORE: Tillson Street's Halloween Displays Draws Thousands
“People sort of have adopted them in this area. The river is right here and they travel around from parking lot to parking lot and cars here generally slow down when they see them cross,” she said.
While some residents complain about geese droppings in the area, others love the birds and frequently feed them.
“They’re kind of a part of Mount Clemens,” said Dawn Kreppa, who works in the city. “I’ve seen the pictures of geese with blood all over them and smashed — it’s just horrible.”
Officials are now trying to work with the Department of Natural Resources to relocate the remaining geese to a sanctuary.
Chris Marraset said he would be sad to see the geese leave town, but he’d rather they live somewhere safe.
“You know, you’ve got to watch where you’re walking, watch where you’re driving, but they’re cool,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to just slow down and realize that we’re not the only thing in the world that exists.”
Others, like Ken Owenger said relocating the geese won’t solve the issue because more will just take their place.
“They’re sort of a problem and everything because you’re getting to see them all over and plus, people are hitting them and making a mess out of the roads with them,” he said.
Meantime, police are trying to track down the driver responsible for the accident. Police say the suspect was driving a Honda Pilot SUV, and they’re working to get a license plate number.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Macomb County Sheriff’s Animal Control division at 586-469-5115.MORE NEWS: Kalamazoo Tests For Lead Exposure Following High-Lead Level Reports In Other Michigan Cities