Biker injured after collision with Florida panther
DAVIE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A group of bikers found themselves on a wild adventure after a Florida panther pounced on one of their own.
Ken Nolan and four other friends on motorcycles were taking a ride on Tamiami Trail on March 31. They were headed toward State Road 29, on their way to Everglades City, for breakfast.
During the ride, a Florida panther appeared on the side of the road. "I saw a panther jump on the guardrail and, just that quick, he jumped out onto the road," said John Boddiger, who saw the accident. "It was probably around 100-120 pounds."
The panther pounced on Ken, knocking him off of his motorcycle. Ken was left with severe injuries. "I had a brain bleed, which they are mainly waiting to finish that off," said Nolan. "I have a fractured shoulder, fractured rib that stayed in place and a clavicle that is severely displaced. The rest of this is just skin road rash."
The collision also destroyed his Ducati Superbike. "When it happened, it was very frightening," said Boddiger. "I wasn't sure if he was alive or dead simply because of the way he was tumbling. He was just basically a rag doll at that point."
Doctors continue to work on Ken, who is lucky to be alive. "I'm going to have surgery if I'm cleared tomorrow for the broken clavicle," said Nolan.
The Florida panther, one of the most endangered animals in the world with no more than 100 left in Southwest Florida, is so elusive that professional trackers with tranquilizer dart guns have to hunt them down so they can be tagged and fitted with tracking collars to be sure they remain alive.
Now, Ken is on a mission to protect the panthers as well as other motorists. He says people need to understand why several have been struck lately crossing around the fences on Tamiami Trail and not the tunnels dug for them to pass beneath. "There seems to be a lot of panther deaths recently and a lot of unexplained people getting hurt in accidents that weren't being explained," he said.
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