Wild turkey goes through windshield of truck

A wild turkey was left half-inside a windshield after a collision. // Stan Maddux photo

John Tarabocchia was heading home after celebrating a family member's acceptance into the University of Notre Dame when a wild turkey crashed halfway through his windshield.

There were no injuries, but had the estimated 25-pound tom gone completely through the glass there could have been a much different outcome, police said.

''I'd say God was with him this morning,'' said LaPorte County Police Officer Ken Etchison.

According to police, Tarabocchia and three family members were westbound on U.S 20 north of LaPorte when he saw two or three wild turkeys crossing the highway.

One of the turkeys took flight and then slammed into the middle of the windshield of the SUV near Wilhelm Road.

The front of the bird wound up in the passenger compartment of the rental he was driving back to O'Hare International Airport for his return trip home to New Jersey, police said.

Tarabocchia visibly shaken from what had just transpired didn't want to comment about the collision, saying only ''Hey, I'm sorry. It is what it is.''

Etchison said they were in South Bend for a family member who had just been accepted into the university.

''That's the only reason they were visiting,'' he said.

Heading to South Bend was a witness to the collision, Bob Smigielski, 61, of Chicago.

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Smigielski said he works for the city of Chicago and was heading to a laboratory with a water sample to have it tested for lead when he saw the bird slam into the windshield.

He thought the bird would bounce off and was shocked at what he saw after turning around to check on the victims.

''I never thought he would be stuck,'' Smigielski said.

Smigielski then received permission to take the bird home where he plans to clean and cook it himself.

Etchison said motor vehicles colliding into wild turkeys happens occasionally, but how this one ended was quite unusual.

''The wild turkeys around here, they're usually a lot smaller., They're not in the 25-pound variety. This is the largest I've seen actually getting hit by a vehicle. This is pretty incredible,'' said Etchison.

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