A speeding motorist ran a car through a gaggle of Canada geese crossing River Boulevard alongside Riverside Park on Friday afternoon, witnesses said.
A search and rescue mission began immediately.
“If I’d have seen it happen, I’d have rammed my car into the car of whoever did this,” Amanda Drake, who lives alongside the park, said later.
Witnesses quickly took to Facebook and Twitter to help and to denounce speeders. Some said they saw the incident – and that it was deliberate.
“To the older man that ran over a dozen geese today by Riverside park ..... shame on you!!!! U didn’t even care to slow down.”
In a neighborhood where many people have become fed up in recent weeks with rude and speeding motorists, this set off public outrage – and a search party, with people updating each other as the search unfolded in real time.
“I remember the car and saw him ... and a truck turned around and followed him ... not to sure if caught him.”
“Omg. I wish someone had a tag number. Horrifying.”
“This absolutely makes me sick to my stomach.”
Amanda Drake and her wife, Ellie, saw the Facebook posts and set out, first in their car, then on foot, looking for feathers and injured geese, driving and walking up and down the west side of the Little Arkansas River bank. Other people went looking, too.
Other Facebook comment writers posted about how they are fed up with motorists who speed through the streets along the river. This was not the first time motorists had plowed through a group of geese along the river, some wrote.
Twenty minutes later, the Drakes saw movement near Wiley and River Boulevard.
“In the bushes in the park we see a head,” Amanda Drake said. “We pulled into the grass and got out. There was a little baby, a juvenile, a few months old.
“He looked completely defeated,” Drake said. “He didn’t hiss, didn’t try to bite me or squawk.” He was bleeding and almost limp, she said.
Ellie Drake hurried home to retrieve a dog crate. They put the goose in their car with the air conditioning running, and both then searched along the riverbank for other injured geese. Three other women showed up and helped, Amanda Drake said.
The Drakes began posting on Facebook from their car, asking for advice to get the goose medical attention. A group of strangers and neighbors quickly gathered around them. The temperature had reached near 100, but more people continued to search the riverbank.
From their homes, other Facebook posters said they were making calls. The story of how they found help unfolded in real time as they wrote Facebook comments.
Veterinarians they contacted either refused to help or said their only solution was to euthanize the goose, they reported.
Callers persisted. After another 20 minutes, a bird rehabilitation specialist from McPherson volunteered, when contacted, to take in the bird. He began driving south from McPherson. Amanda Drake sent him directions.
During those 20 minutes, Amanda Drake said, three more motorists shot past her car, with the other Riverside search party members gathered around it.
“They were kids,” she said. “They raced past at high speed, screaming out the windows.”
The rehabilitation specialist texted Amanda Drake on Saturday morning.
The baby will be fine, he wrote. It has scrapes and bruises but no broken bones and no apparent other serious injuries.
What made this a positive adventure, Drake said, was “All sorts of people besides us tried to help.”