Untamed Lowcountry

Police escort alligator on Hilton Head’s Cross Island Parkway 4 separate times in 1 day

Dash cam shows alligator very slowly making his way along a busy Hilton Head highway

A deputy with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office responds to a call of an alligator on the Cross Island Parkway on Hilton Head.
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A deputy with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office responds to a call of an alligator on the Cross Island Parkway on Hilton Head.

If an alligator uses the Cross Island Parkway, does it have to pay the $1.25 toll?

This one didn’t, and the 6- to 8-foot gator seemed to be going way under the speed limit, which means tourists weren’t the only ones causing traffic on Hilton Head today.

The alligator was on the road four separate times on Wednesday, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Major Bob Bromage said. The gator was seen on the road as early as 6:45 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m.

During one of the alligator’s visits, dashcam footage from the responding deputy shows the alligator lying basically camouflaged in the grass along the road for multiple minutes before standing up and strutting a few yards then plopping down again.

Bromage said the deputy closed a right-hand lane on the parkway to detour traffic around the alligator during the morning visit. The lane was closed for about five to 10 minutes.

“The deputy escorted the alligator safely into the woods,” Bromage said. “We made sure it was safely across.”

By evening, the Sheriff’s Office decided it was time to call the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources., Bromage said. He said a deputy was keeping an eye on the alligator as they waited for a DNR agent to respond.

Beware of alligators on the road

Sometimes, the animals don’t cause too much of a disruption and are able to cross roads without being harmed, like in July when Sheriff’s Office deputies redirected traffic so an 8-foot alligator could cross the road near Compass Road Park on Hilton Head.

Months before that in May 2018, a mother and her two kids were killed in a fiery wreck after their car hit an alligator crossing I-95 in Orangeburg County.

Alligators move around most when they’re mating from mid-April through May, according to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.

So far this season they’ve been spotted all over the county, including on other roadways like U.S. 278 in Bluffton, in Sea Pines at the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing and on golf courses.

The laboratory warns you keep your distance, especially during mating season.

“Although they may look slow and awkward, alligators are extremely powerful and can move with a startling burst of speed on land over short distances,” according to its alligator guide.

At least 10 feet long, alligator interrupts play at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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