Many people look forward to the Christmas turkey. Scrooge bought Tiny Tim a fine Christmas goose. And Covington Police Officer Lance Benjamin now has a Christmas owl.
Unlike those first two, Benjamin’s owl wasn’t served on a platter. Rather, it tried to have the officer for dinner, flying in through his open window and then, in a panic, scratching him and causing him to drive his cruiser into a ditch.
The incident began as many do: an officer on night patrol in a quiet subdivision in Covington. Benjamin was rolling through the Savannahs neighborhood with his window down, looking and listening for anything suspicious.
But the stealthy hooter — a known neighborhood rodent assassin — caught him unawares, swooping in through his open window and assaulting the officer with talons and beak. Benjamin, trying frantically to defend himself from the furious attack, lost control of his cruiser and crashed into a ditch.
Benjamin was able to escape the car and radio for backup. Despite the presence of three law enforcement officers — including Benjamin’s two supervisors — the feathered assailant was able to escape by flying out of an open cruiser door. No description of the owl has been released.
Body-cam footage of the incident shows the owl for a brief moment as a flashlight pans across Benjamin’s dashboard, revealing the malevolent face of a being with no conscience and little if any respect for the men in blue.
Benjamin suffered minor scratches and a ripped shirt in the incident. He may also need new pants, according to Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz. After being checked out by medical personnel. He was able to return to his shift.
Here's video of the incident (click here if you're having trouble seeing it):
For Immediate release I am sound asleep thinking about the upcoming Christmas events, spending time with your family and friends, enjoying some great food when I think I hear my phone go off with a text message at 1:45am. I look at my phone in a half daze and think it reads something like, “Officer Benjamin involved in a crash after owl flies into his unit”. Maybe this is just someone’s weird way of playing a joke on me in the middle of the night so I roll over and go back to sleep. Surely nothing as outrageous as an owl flying into a police car could happen. I imagined the next text would be that Santa Clause was spotted on Collins Blvd. So, when I finally awake from my night’s sleep, once again, I look at my phone to see if I missed any calls or text during the night and sure enough there was a text at 1:45am announcing that “Officer Benjamin involved in a crash after owl flies into his unit.” Maybe it wasn’t a dream, so I get to the office and review the body camera footage from the night before. Surely if something as crazy as an owl flying into a police car happened, it would be on someone’s body camera. And yes it was. Turns out that Officer Lance Benjamin was patrolling the Savanah’s Subdivision with his window rolled down listening and looking for anything suspicious, when an owl flew into his open window. The owl began scratching and pecking at Officer Benjamin causing him to briefly lose control of his police car, driving into a ditch. Officer Benjamin suffered minor scratches and will probably need a new uniform shirt (and maybe pants). After being checked out by medical personnel he returned to work to finish his shift with an amazing story to tell, and proof it happened. Officers opened the door of the police car, and the owl flew off into the darkness. I will try to send a brief video clip in a separate email. I am having a little technical difficulties. If for some reason it doesn’t come through, you should be able to grab it off of our Facebook account. Happy holidays, Tim Lentz Tim Lentz, M.C.J.Chief of PoliceCovington Police Department609 N. Columbia StreetCovington, LA 70433Office 985-892-8500Fax 985-893-0059 LA FBI NAA - Logo outline 300 x 600 (2)2015 State President Official correspondence*** This email was sent to you from the City of Covington, LA. ***Official correspondencePosted by Covington Police Department (Covington, LA) on Thursday, December 24, 2015