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It's one thing to hit a dragonfly at highway speed...


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But it's quite another story when your motorcycle slams you into a turkey!

 

Biker survives collision with turkey

 

By SCOTT BROOKS

New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

 

 

A motorcyclist broke six ribs and a shoulder blade yesterday when a wild turkey flew into him, knocking him off his bike, according to police and the man's family.

State police said the turkey flew of the woods and struck the biker, Frank Grimes, as he cruised up Route 12 in Westmoreland. Grimes, 62, of Keene, was flown by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, where he was listed in "satisfactory" condition last night.

"From what he told me, that he remembers, he was hit on the right-hand side. He didn't know by what," said his daughter, Michelle Grimes, of West Lebanon. "He had no idea until somebody told him."

Police said they suspected Grimes suffered a head injury in the crash. His daughter said she was concerned about that possibility. She was still waiting for a radiologist to see him last night.

The turkey did not survive, according to Lu Farnsworth, who passed the bird on her way to work early yesterday afternoon. Farnsworth works at Mac's Market on Route 12 in Westmoreland.

"He was big, and he was on the side of the road with his tail feathers out," Farnsworth said. "He was a good size. Probably 30 pounds."

Grimes works for the city of Keene's water department, his daughter said. His title is backflow prevention director.

Investigators said Grimes was heading north on Route 12, toward the village of Westmoreland. The turkey zoomed out from the woods to the west side of the road, they said.

Grimes was reportedly conscious when the police arrived at the scene at 11:41 a.m. He was wearing a helmet, police said.

Michelle Grimes said her father is an experienced rider. In addition to the helmet, she said, he was wearing gloves, boots and a motorcycle jacket.

"We were surprised," she said, "because my dad's been riding motorcycles since he was 10."

Turkeys rarely fly into traffic in New Hampshire, according to Ted Walski, a New Hampshire Fish and Game biologist who specializes in wild turkeys. It's been 33 years since the state stepped in to restore the wild turkey population, and Walski said he could remember just one accident in all that time: a 1999 crash that killed a motorcyclist on Route 9 in Nelson.

Officials estimate there are more than 36,000 wild turkeys in New Hampshire. A typical adult hen weighs between 9 and 11 pounds, according to Walski. Adult male turkeys may weigh 17 to 20 pounds.

They tend to fly slowly, Walski said.

"I think most people are safe from the turkeys," he said. "Mostly, they're crossing the road on the ground. You might get a glancing blow on the bumper or something like that."

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