James Clairmont, 56, was driving home in Largo, about 35 miles west of Tampa, when he happened upon the ducks at around 8 p.m., according to Fox 4. Eleven ducklings and their mother were playing in a shallow puddle in the middle of the road, the report said.
Witnesses told police they watched Clairmont slow down for a speed bump before deliberately accelerating towards the ducks. Multiple witnesses reportedly screamed for him to stop.
Police said Clairmont ran over three of the ducklings, then drove to his mobile home one street away. Two of the ducklings died immediately, while the third was taken to a vet hospital with broken bones.
“It was very upsetting,” witness Lily Simmons told Bay News 9. “Especially, to the children because they just totally freaked out.”
Clairmont denied having seen the ducks at all but couldn’t explain why there were blood and feathers on the wheels of his truck, according to his arrest report.
Clairmont’s speech was slurred, and the smell of alcohol still emanated from him two hours after the ducks were killed, police said. He was arrested on a felony aggravated animal cruelty charge and released from Pinellas County Jail Monday on a $5,000 bond.
According to jail records, Clairmont was arrested in April of last year on a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving property. It is not clear how that case was adjudicated.