Black bear killed by cars on I-70 |

Black bear killed by cars on I-70

A black bear was struck and killed in the right eastbound lane of Interstate 70 at the South Canyon exit Thursday morning, injuring one driver and causing more than an hour of delay during the morning rush hour.

The accident occurred at 6:10 a.m. when the large bear, apparently trying to cross from the Colorado River to the base of Storm King Mountain, suddenly appeared out of the darkness on the highway.

It was struck by two cars, said Colorado State Patrol trooper Shauna Swale, the CSP responder to the scene.

The bear was first hit with a glancing blow by a Hyundai, causing damage to the vehicle’s front right quarter panel and taking off the car’s mirror.

The impact flung the bear into the air, and it landed squarely on top of a Ford Taurus. The bear slid down the hood of the Taurus and was run over. The bear died from its injuries.

“All she saw was a black blur and she heard a loud crunch when the bear hit,” Swale said of the Taurus driver.

The woman’s airbags deployed, sparing her from serious injuries.

“One person was transported (to the hospital) with a sore neck,” Swale said.

It took five Colorado Department of Transportation workers to load the bear onto a CDOT truck and take it away, Colorado State Patrol Capt. Scott Friend said.

Swale estimated the bear weighed about 500 pounds.

“It was healthy. It was probably eating at the dump,” Swale said.

The gender of the bear was not determined.

Traffic was backed up for more than an hour as emergency and cleanup crews determined the cause of the accident and cleared the road.

“You have the curiosity factor when you have a bear sprawled out on the road,” Friend said.

Both Friend and Swale said the bear was likely among those that visit the South Canyon dump. A huge bear weighing 575 pounds was killed about a year and a half ago from similar circumstances, Friend said.

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