'Hungry, thirsty, and a little confused': Watch bear bring traffic to a standstill in California

Traffic on State Route 14 in Southern California was brought to a standstill by a bear who sauntered towards the middle of the highway near Santa Clarita.

Video footage captured by commuter Dan Kanes showed the bear standing in the middle of the highway as traffic came to a halt. After observing his surroundings, the bear then saunters towards the trees and away from the traffic.

Kanes told Storyful he was preparing to exit the freeway near Santa Clarita when he spotted the bear and stopped his car.

“The bear appeared to have potentially just awakened from hibernation and seemed hungry, thirsty, and a little confused,” Kanes told Storyful.

Kanes also praised fellow drivers and commuters for stopping their vehicles and displaying "compassion and patience," towards the wild animal.

The incident took place shortly before 12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, a spokesperson of the California Highway Patrol told USA TODAY, adding that the department received multiple calls regarding the bear. The spokesperson said the bear was also sighted at two other locations in the area, and that officers responded to the locations but were unable to locate the animal. The state department of Fish and Wildlife was also notified of the sighting, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson of the California Department of Transportation, meanwhile, told USA TODAY that the bear was not harmed in the incident, adding that the situation unfolded quickly, and the department was not called to take any action.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at sshafiq@gannett.com and follow her on X @saman_shafiq7.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bear stops highway traffic near Santa Clarita, California: Watch video