Car strikes bear weighing up to 450 pounds in ‘very rare’ accident, TN officials say

A car collision killed a massive roaming animal in an accident that is “not terribly common” in the middle part of Tennessee, wildlife officials say.

A car traveling on Highway 231 south of Shelbyville struck a black bear, which killed the large animal, Barry Cross, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesperson, told McClatchy News in an email. The accident occurred at about 11 p.m. Nov. 10, WZTV reports.

When TWRA officials arrived to the scene of the collision, the bear was dead, according to the spokesperson. The crash also caused “quite a bit of damage” to the car, Cross said, but no one in the vehicle was injured.

As part of the crash site evaluation, TWRA staff weighed the bear using a scale that typically weighs deer, Cross said. The bear maxed out the scale, as it only measured up to 300 pounds, officials said. It most likely weighed somewhere between 350 and 450 pounds, a TWRA biologist said, per Cross.

The black bear was estimated to weigh between 350 and 450 pounds, TWRA said.
The black bear was estimated to weigh between 350 and 450 pounds, TWRA said.

In Tennessee, car crashes into deer are much more common, Cross said, as black bears make up “a fraction” of the whitetail deer population in the state. Most black bears in Tennessee are situated in two major populations — one along the North Carolina border and another along the Kentucky border — but they can be very mobile, according to TWRA’s website.

That’s not to say black bears aren’t impacted by cars, Cross said, although it is “very rare” for an accident to happen in Middle Tennessee.

To avoid deadly vehicle encounters with black bears, TWRA recommends that drivers always stay on the lookout for crossing animals. If an animal enters the road, drivers are advised to use their brakes and not swerve, the spokesperson said.

Shelbyville is about 60 miles southeast of Nashville.

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