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Bear euthanized after hit by car

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By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Friday, December 28, 2018

CAMDEN — A black bear had to be euthanized after being struck by a vehicle on U.S. Highway 17 north of South Mills, Thursday night. 

The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday when a vehicle traveling south collided with a black bear on U.S. 17 between South Mills and the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, said Camden County Sheriff Kevin Jones.

A Camden deputy, along with the South Mills Volunteer Fire Department and state Highway Patrol responded to the scene.  

A copy of the Highway Patrol crash report does not indicate whether there were any injuries to the driver, a 72-year-old Elizabeth City woman who was driving a 2019 Volkswagen. The report states the collision caused an estimated $6,000 in damage to her vehicle and that it was undrivable after the accident. 

Jones said the Camden deputy notified central communications that the bear was still alive after the collision but barely mobile. The animal was trying to make its way across the northbound section of U.S. 17.

Jones said it was decided the suffering animal should be euthanized. Traffic was stopped long enough for the deputy to shoot it, Jones said. 

The bear was left on the side of the road to be picked up Friday. A reporter drove to the welcome center around 3 p.m. Friday and did not see the bear on either side of the road or in the center median. 

Chris Turner, district biologist for the state Wildlife Resources Commission, said Friday that in most cases the N.C. Department of Transportation picks up dead animals from roadways. Turner also said it’s not uncommon that one or two black bears get struck by a vehicle each year along that stretch of U.S. 17.

“They’re hard to see, especially at night,” he said.

Turner said that motorists need to be mindful that there are bears throughout the Albemarle region that travel about at night. 

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has lots of information about black bears at its website, ncwildlife.org. At the home page, click on the “Learning” link and then scroll down to “species” and then “mammals.” 

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