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COUNTY: Sarasota County
LOCATION DETAILS: Headed N on I-75, right side, between exit #179 and #191.
NEAREST TOWN: Sarasota
NEAREST ROAD: I 75
OBSERVED: My husband and I were driving home on I-75, the day after Christmas. Our car just started to accelerate after being in traffic for over an hour due to an accident. My husband was watching the cars closely and I was observing the environment on my left side, as I normally do on a road trip. I looked over to my right and saw something large and black about a football field distance away. At first it looked like it wasn't moving, but I kept watching and after a few seconds I saw an arm extend and it move forward towards the woods. My first instinct was to think it was a bear, but then as I continued to fixate on the animal, I realized it had very long black hair and was extremely broad in the shoulder/lat area. I continued to watch it move forward very slowly and realized it was in a crouched position but looked as flat and large as the top of a car, from my view. The whole experience was very surreal to me and I think I'm still in shock. The whole length of my viewing time was approximately 5-7 seconds.
OTHER WITNESSES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: around 11:00 a.m.
ENVIRONMENT: A clearing with woods on the right and left side
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator David Bakara:
The witness was a passenger in a car headed N on I75 between North Port and Sarasota. They had been waiting for traffic to start moving again after a short traffic jam. The car was just beginning to accelerate to normal speed when she spotted the creature. It was large and black, appx a football field away, low and flat to the ground. She estimated its size as about the same as a car hood. At first she thought it was a big stump, but it was in a clearing between two areas of forest. She then thought it might be a bear. Then she observed large the lat muscle area on its back. As she continued to observe it, she realized it was covered in long black hair, and that it appeared to be crouched down. She then watched as it extended a long arm out, presumably to move along on all fours. Her sighting lasted 5-7 seconds. This area of Florida does not have bears. Hogs are common, but they have short hair, not the size of a car hood and easily distinguishable by their short legs and round bodies. The witness is perplexed and can't think of what else it could be other that a LARGE, crouched down, hairy animal with long arms moving slowly between two forested areas in Myakka State Park. The Myakka State Park area has been home to several Skunk Ape sightings over the years.
About BFRO Investigator David Bakara:
David has three daughters and a wife that shares his interest in research, both having developed a deep respect for nature and knowledge of the outdoors and wildlife. Attended Northern Florida Expedition 2011, 2012 Washington Exp., and 2012 North Florida exp. Prior US Navy and currently works as a Leasing Agent, spending his time off in the woods as often as he can investigating Bigfoot reports.