Florida driver dies after crashing his car into an 11-foot alligator on the road

A Florida man died Thursday morning after he crashed his car into an 11-foot alligator, authorities say. 

Around 12:30 a.m., 59-year-old John Hopkins was driving east on Country Road 672 in Lithia, around 20 miles southeast of Tampa, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. While driving, the front of Hopkins' car hit an 11-foot alligator sitting in the middle of the road. 

Authorities said the impact of the crash caused Hopkins' car to veer off the road and overturn into a ditch.

A motorist driving past the area noticed the car and called the police. When detectives arrived, they pronounced Hopkins dead at the scene. The alligator was also killed.

The size of the alligator was around the average size of a fully mature alligator, according to The National Wildlife Federation. On average, gators will grow up to 12 feet and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. The state record for largest alligator, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is 14-feet, 3½ inches.

The commission estimates there are around 1.3 million alligators in the state, living in all of Florida's counties.

Investigators did not say if they knew how the alligator got onto the road, but the Miami Herald reported 2 miles east of the crash site is Alafia River State Park, a 6,312-acre park known to be home to many alligators. 

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.