COARSEGOLD – A collision on Highway 41 last night ended badly for both the bear and vehicle.
A Mariposa woman was northbound in a 2008 Kia just south of Serpa Canyon Road at about 7:30 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 10, when a bear ran out in front of her, according to CHP.
The driver was unable to avoid hitting the 200 pound animal, which died on impact, and her car left the roadway, sliding about 15 feet down the right side embankment. Fortunately, she did not hit any trees, and was not badly injured, just a bit shaken up.
Brandon Gandy was also northbound, with his girlfriend and 10-month-old baby in the car, and saw a truck pulled over and two men running up the road. He slowed, and then saw the taillights of the Kia off the shoulder, and stopped to help.
Gandy and the other men helped the woman out of her car, and she was able to climb up out of the wreck. Gandy then offered her his car to sit in and be comfortable while they waited for police and EMTs to arrive. The men then pulled the bear out of the roadway.
Engine #12 and Sierra Ambulance responded to the scene, and the driver was evaluated, but did not need to be transported. Cal Fire Engine #4260, involved in training exercises at YLP Station #10 at the time, also responded, but were called off as they reached Road 417, and returned to the training.
Fish and Wildlife Warden Mike Orem arrived to retrieve the bear, and loaded it into his pickup with the help of CHP Officer Nick Cosentino and Madera County Fire Station #12 Engineer Martin Lawler.
Highway 41 was closed in both directions for about 15 minutes while Bulldog Towing hauled the car back up onto the road and cleared the scene.