It is never funny when someone attacks an officer. Except, maybe, when that “someone” is an owl.
Lance Benjamin, a Police Officer in Covington, was working alone on Christmas Eve. The officer was patrolling a Louisiana subdivision. Benjamin was driving very slowly, with his window open, as he made sure the area was safe.
“As I was exiting the subdivision, going about 10 miles an hour, suddenly I felt something hit the left side of my face,” Officer Benjamin told WVUE.
At first, the officer had no idea what could have hit him. He thought some kids might have been playing nearby and a football had accidentally been thrown into his cruiser. The solid hit to his face was enough for him to look through the driver’s side window to attempt to find the source of the projectile.
That was when the Barred Owl decided to show itself.
“…And then I felt some scratching on the back of my head and some pecking,” Officer Benjamin, grinning the whole time, continued his story. “[ The owl ] slapped me a few times with his wings, kept on going with his talons.”
The excited owl’s attacks on the officer continued as he tried to maintain control of his car. It was lucky that Officer Benjamin had taken defensive driving courses and was going at such a slow speed, because he lost control as he endured the owl attacks. Very shortly after the chaos started, the officer was able to drive the car into a ditch, put it into park, and get out.
“I tried to keep control of my car, went into a ditch, avoided some trees. Finally was able to stop the car put it in park get out. And there he was, just chilling out in the car,” he said, according to ABC.
The officer rolled down the passenger side window, but was forced to wait outside his car as the owl remained inside for 45 minutes before, finally, flying off.
The owl attack that the officer suffered left no lasting damage to him and only minor damage to the car.
Benjamin had to deal with some minor scratches and received a tetanus shot with some antibiotics as a precaution. Throughout his discussion with reporters, the officer remained in good spirits. He seemed to find the entire situation hilarious.
Chief of Police Tim Lentz, described what it was like to get that text message in the middle of the night in a Facebook post. The post was accompanied by video of the owl attacks taken by Officer Benjamin’s body camera.
“I am sound asleep … when I think I hear my phone go off with a text message … I look at my phone in a half daze and think it reads something like, ‘Officer Benjamin involved in a crash after owl flies into his unit’. Maybe this is just someone’s weird way of playing a joke on me in the middle of the night so I roll over and go back to sleep. Surely nothing as outrageous as an owl flying into a police car could happen. I imagined the next text would be that Santa Clause was spotted on Collins Blvd. So, when I finally awake from my night’s sleep, once again, I look at my phone to see if I missed any calls or text during the night and sure enough there was a text at 1:45am … Surely if something as crazy as an owl flying into a police car happened, it would be on someone’s body camera. And yes it was.”
[Photo by Chief of Police Tim Lentz]