Two suspects tossed roosters from the window of an SUV as they attempted to evade officers in a police chase on Louisiana Interstate 20/59 on Monday morning, reports the Tuscaloosa News.
The roosters that were killed on the highway appeared to be game fowl, the type of bird used in cockfighting, said Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Andy Norris.
An additional 54 similar roosters were recovered from inside the sport-utility vehicle and a box on the side of the Interstate. The 38 surviving roosters were taken to Metro Animal Shelter, Norris said.
The chase which ended with the apprehension of Brandon Michael LeBouef, 22, of Houma, Louisiana, and Santos Dardar, 29, started near the Skyland Boulevard exit of the Interstate and ended at T.Y. Rogers Jr. Avenue and 22nd Street.
Although the roosters resemble the kind used for cockfighting, he said, there is no evidence fighting had actually occurred. Cockfighting has been illegal in Alabama since 1896, but it is not illegal to raise, train or trade roosters that could be used to fight.
The driver of the SUV, later identified as Santos Dardar, refused to stop for a deputy at a red light on Skyland Boulevard around 1 a.m. on Monday. He led officers to the Interstate, got off at Exit 68 and drove to a street near the Tuscaloosa County Jail, where the vehicle was abandoned.
Deputies and Tuscaloosa Police officers set up a perimeter and captured the suspects shortly after that, Norris said.
It was determined that the roosters were stolen in Tuscaloosa County. The birds' owner was notified and asked to claim his roosters from the animal shelter.
LeBouef and Dardar were each charged with first-degree theft. Dardar also was charged with reckless driving and attempting to elude police. He was ticketed for littering (throwing the roosters out of the window), running a red light and improper lane usage.
Dardar's bail was set at $39,000. LeBouef's bail was set at $30,000. Both men remained in the Tuscaloosa County Jail Monday night, according to officials.
Source: Tuscaloosa News.com