On the afternoon of Thursday, July 16, one turtle won the rescue lottery when Shelly Vail of Gulfport decided to be a Good Samaritan.
“It was trying to cross three lanes of busy traffic near the on-ramp to the Bayside Bridge from Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard near the Courtney Campbell Causeway,” she said. CC the turtle, named for the causeway, “was in the middle of the first lane and traffic was just going nuts. I wasn’t going to leave it there to be hit. It bothers me that nobody stopped – they just drove around it. So, I pulled over and parked, then went back on foot to pull it out of the road.”
Vail, a Gulfport Community Emergency Response Team volunteer, says she use her knowledge of traffic control from working Gulfport parades.
However, she said, “Nobody stopped to help me while I was trying to rodeo the turtle.”
Vail explained that she used her foot to gently nudge the turtle to a safe place before she put it in a cardboard box for transport to Wood Ibis Park in Gulfport for release.
“That brackish water under the bridge where [CC] came from is nasty,” said Vail. “This park is so much nicer. I picked it up by the sides of the shell so it couldn’t nail me with its flippers or bite me. I’ve never rescued a turtle this big before.”