Washington Woman 'Stunned' When Bear Runs Into Her Car

By: ABC News
By: ABC News

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Washington woman was left "stunned" when a black bear ran out of the forest and hit her car, according to ABC affiliate KATU.

Marilyn Harker, of Vancouver, Wash., was driving her Honda Civic along an interstate highway when a bear suddenly ran onto the road and slammed its head into her front passenger door Wednesday afternoon, KATU reported.

"There was nothing I could do. I was just stunned. I just sat in my car," Harker told KATU.

The bear died before police arrived on the scene, according to KATU.

"I'd heard so many stories about animals that get hit and they roll and run off into the woods, and I was really hoping that would happen," Harker told KATU.

The animal was 3 to 5 years old and weighed 100 pounds, according to KATU.

ABCNews.com's attempts to reach Harker directly were unsuccessful.

It is not unusual for bears and people to cross paths in the Pacific Northwest this time of year.

"During the month of June we get the most bear sightings," Craig Bartlett, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife told ABC News.

However, Bartlett added, "It is the first bear death caused by an automobile we've seen this year."

It is rare for bears to stray near interstate highways.

"When food is scarce, bears will occasionally venture out into populated areas, like residential communities. We call these bears 'nuisance bears,'" Bartlett said. "Bears are notoriously near-sighted. They don't have a good sense of their surroundings. But for a bear to wander so fatally close to a highway, that is unusual."

"As of June 6, our office has had approximately 192 reports of bear sightings," Bartlett said.

Last week, KATU reported, a Vancouver teenager shot video of a black bear running down a residential street and into a private backyard.

Earlier in the summer, a black bear evaded officials for weeks in the suburb of Camas, Ore., before it was tranquilized and relocated to a national forest, Bartlett told ABC News.

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