Alaska driver hits 300-pound seal on way to work

Anchorage, Alaska — Fred Parnell of Alaska wasn’t expecting marine mammals on the roadway, so he was shocked when the animal he struck turned out to be a 300-pound northern fur seal.

He tells the Alaska Dispatch News that he hit something that felt like “a brick wall” on his commute last week.

Parnell, public works director for St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, says his truck went airborne and got stuck in some mud. When he staggered up an embankment to see what he hit, the injured seal lifted its head.

St. Paul police chief Nick Hunnicutt says he had to shoot the animal.

Julie Speegle of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the agency doesn’t know of any previous seal-vehicle crashes.

Parnell says the roadway was 25 or 30 yards from the water.