HOUSTON—A New Caney tow truck driver received an unusual call from Montgomery County deputies early Monday morning and ended up clearing Highway 242, not of a disabled or wrecked vehicle, but of a live 8-foot alligator that had decided to stop in the middle of traffic on the San Jacinto River Bridge.
Just after 1:30 a.m. a Montgomery County Precinct 5 patrol unit saw the gator stopping traffic and called for assistance. The state of Texas maintains a list of people certified to help capture and release alligators. But on Sunday night, Montgomery County deputies, in need of assistance quickly, called the closest available expert they knew. His name is Slinky Knox, he’s a New Caney tow truck driver who happened to be on duty and was someone the deputies knew had experience with alligators before.
“The cops called me,” said Knox. “They know who I am. They know that I can handle stuff like that.”
Deputies helped Knox tie up the gator, pull it from the highway, and get it back to the edge of the river. Knox said the gator appeared slightly injured, perhaps from a passing car. But that gator rushed back into the water and swam away.
“We managed to get it off and get it out. We don’t want nobody getting hurt, or the alligator getting hurt or nothing,” said Knox. “I didn’t want nobody getting hurt, or it getting back on the road and a motorcycle hitting it or a car full of kids, it’s Memorial Day weekend.”
American alligators are not an unusual road, or backyard, hazard in Texas. The range of the Texas population of alligators can stretch as far north as Dallas and as far west as Laredo.