Florida Police Officer Runs Over Moongazers Watching Total Lunar Eclipse

Even when your eyes are on the sky, your head shouldn't be in the clouds.

Total Lunar Eclipse 2019
NurPhoto—NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Florida police officer reportedly ran over two skywatchers during Sunday night's total lunar eclipse.

Two unidentified pedestrians were reportedly viewing the eclipse from in the roadway of North Jog Road in Apoxee Trail, a nature reserve in West Palm Beach, Florida. WPBF reports that these pedestrians were lying in the road for an easy view and better photographs of the moon, and speculates they were in the reserve to escape the light pollution from West Palm Beach.

Near midnight, a West Palm Beach Police Department officer went to patrol the road in their Ford Explorer police cruiser. While traveling North Jog Road at a speed of about five miles per hour, the officer collided with the two eclipse viewers. Both individuals reportedly sustained injuries described as non-life threatening in the impact, and were sent to a nearby hospital for treatment. The WPBPD is investigating the accident and has placed the officer alleged to have hit these pedestrians on paid leave.

Whether the officer was driving with their cruiser's lights off is unclear. The Drive contacted the police department for comment on the status of its investigation, and we will update when we receive a response.

Many referred to Sunday's eclipse as the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse, due to the coincidence of multiple rare lunar conditions. January's full moon is sometimes known as the Wolf Moon, and this year's Wolf Moon happened to be during Super Moon conditions, where the moon waxes at around the closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it appear abnormally large in the sky. Blood Moon is a name given to the moon in the conditions of a total lunar eclipse when the Earth passes between the sun and moon.

These three conditions combined for the name and the occasion was made more special to astronomy enthusiasts due to Sunday's eclipse also being the last of the Twenteens, with another not due until 2021.