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 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.”