A police officer in Covington, Louisiana, was on patrol duty on Christmas Eve when he was reportedly attacked by a barred owl.
Officer Lance Benjamin of the Covington Police Department was driving his cruiser around a local neighborhood on the night of Dec. 24 when he felt something hit the side of his face.
"I thought it was a football or something," he told CNN affiliate WVUE. "And then I felt some scratching on the back of my head and some pecking."
The owl had flown in through the open driver's side window and started attacking Benjamin with its beak and talons.
The sudden attack caused the officer to swerve off the road into a ditch.
"I tried to keep control of my car, went into a ditch, avoided some trees," Benjamin said. "Finally was able to stop the car put it in park get out. And there he was, just chilling out in the car."
The officer reportedly waited 45 minutes for the owl to fly out of his car and back into the night sky, CNN reported.
Benjamin suffered some minor scratches and was given a tetanus shot and antibiotics. He returned to his shift after being treated.
Covington police chief Tim Lentz said he woke up at 1:45 a.m. on Christmas morning to find a text message that read, "Officer Benjamin involved in a crash after owl flies into his unit," according to WVUE.
Lentz initially believed the text to be a prank but realized the incident actually occurred after reviewing video footage captured by a body camera that Benjamin was wearing during his shift.
The Covington Police Department has since posted the video to its Facebook page, where it has received more than 14,000 views in four days.
Commenters responding to the post made jokes about the incident.
"Was the owl cited for causing the wreck?" one poster asked.
"Glad he's okay," another user posted about Benjamin. "Guess his new nickname will be night owl."
As a way to memorialize the event, Benjamin's colleagues in the police department have given him a plush owl to take on late night rides, according to CNN.
Photo Credit: Covington Police Department/Facebook via WVUE