An Oregon man has been charged with intentionally driving his pickup truck into a group of bald eagles feeding on an Alaska roadway, killing two of them, authorities said Thursday.
Dennis C. Thompson, 28, of Union, Oregon, was cited on a count of using a motorized vehicle to harass or molest game, the Division of Alaska State Troopers said. Thompson is scheduled to be arraigned June 30 in Unalaska District Court, the division said.
Unalaska Police Chief Jamie Sunderland told NBC station KTUU the incident happened Sunday night in Dutch Harbor, a community on Unalaska in the Alaska part of the Aleutian Islands.
"Somebody called us and said there was someone who had ran over an eagle," Sunderland said. "They said there was blood, and it was flopping around, that someone should come put it down."
When police arrived, they found two dead birds and two others struggling to fly, Sunderland said. The injured birds eventually managed to take off. Thompson was traced through a company logo that a witness saw on his truck, police said.
The charge is a misdemeanor, but it's also a federal crime to kill bald eagles, which were removed from the federal Endangered Species List in 2007 but remain protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. There was no information early Friday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had yet been notified of the incident.
"I can't imagine anyone who thinks this is acceptable," Sunderland told KTUU. "It's not unusual to have eagles sitting all over town, including all over the road. They've flown into vehicles and houses, but this is the first time that I recall anybody running one over."