Bear hit by two cars, killed
Slowing down and using what Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Tony Almaraz calls the “12-second rule” is a motorist’s best chance to avoid sudden, unhappy encounters with Nevada’s wildlife.
“Like anything else, it pays to look ahead,” Almaraz said. “Look as far as you can down the road ahead of you and about every 12 seconds, scan the sides of the road as well as the oncoming traffic. Always reduce your speed in the nighttime hours and on winding roads – slow down anytime it’s hard to see.”
Almaraz’ advice came after a brown bear was killed and the two cars that hit it were disabled earlier this week.
The accident, on Highway 395 south of Gardnerville near Double Spring, occurred Monday at 6:50 p.m., when a large bear walked onto the highway from the road’s west shoulder and into traffic.
Judith Curti, 33, of Coleville, Calif., was traveling south. Although Curti braked and tried to avoid the animal, Almaraz said, her car skidded into the bear, tossing it into the northbound lane where it was hit a second time.
The bear was thrown into the path of Alexander Hartley, 49, of Wellington, who was traveling north. Hartley’s vehicle hit the bear and knocked it back into the path of Curti’s car which, after hitting the bear a second time, skidded into a right-of-way fence.
Hartley reported minor injuries – bumps and bruises – but was not transported to the hospital. Neither Curti nor her passenger, a child, reported any injuries.
But both vehicles had to be towed from the scene and Curti’s had severe damage, Almaraz said. He said officers called the Nevada Division of Wildlife, which removed the bear’s carcass.
“There are so few bears and mountain lions, that many of them are marked and tagged,” he said. “NDW likes to keep track of them. The Nevada Department of Transportation removes deer that are hit.”
As far as he could tell, Almaraz said, drivers Curti and Hartley responded properly.
“Try not to oversteer and don’t try to swerve – you could roll your car or cause an even more serious accident,” he said.
Almaraz said if someone runs into a wild animal and if either the damage is significant or there are injuries, the involved motorist(s) should call for help and wait for officers to make a report.
“You have to anticipate, because when animals come out, there’s not much you can do,” he said.
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