EVERETT — A late-night romp along the Hewitt Avenue Trestle proved fatal Sunday night for a wayward emu named Curious George.
Unlike the inquisitive monkey of fiction, there was no man in a yellow hat to rescue the gawky bird from peril.
Instead, Curious George wandered alone into the chaos of traffic whizzing along U.S. 2.
The big bird, which stood about 6 feet tall, first was reported midspan heading westbound on the highway.
It first came to the attention of the Washington State Patrol when a 911 caller reported striking the emu, Trooper Mark Francis said.
There was no damage to the car and the emu continued its long-legged trot.
“It could have been hit other times,” Francis said.
The emu managed to reach I-5 briefly before retreating eastbound back toward the trestle.
A trooper eventually was able to catch up with Curious George. He followed him at speeds averaging about 7 mph, Francis said.
Emus, which are native to Australia, can run up to 30 mph.
A State Patrol sergeant trying to help contain the AWOL emu was transported to a local hospital with cuts to his hand sustained somehow when he encountered the bird.
“We just know he got lacerations from the scuffle,” Francis said.
The emu’s owner joined the rescue effort but it was too late, according to police.
The bird died from its injuries Sunday night after it managed to leave the trestle. Its carcass was picked up by a City of Everett park ranger along California Street near an exit.
It was taken to the Everett Animal Shelter for disposal, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
Reardon was told the emu lived on a farm on Ebey Island, which is spanned by the trestle. Apparently, someone had cut a hole in the fence and Curious George escaped, she said.
Reardon said it was a sad ending. She did not know much more about the flightless bird that fled the farm, including where it was hatched.
“We know its destiny,” she said. “We don’t know its dynasty.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.