Two die in bizarre crash involving bear on Hwy. 148
Published Tuesday, June 7, 2011 5:42PM EDT
A young Ottawa woman and her friend were killed Monday night in a bizarre collision involving two vehicles and a bear on Highway 148 in the Pontiac.
Police say a vehicle travelling eastbound near Luskville, Que. hit the 300-pound black bear at about 10:30 Monday night, sending the animal into the opposite lane.
The bear was then struck by an on-coming car, sending the animal through the windshield and out the back window.
"Add the weight of the bear, about a 300-pound bear, plus the speed of the vehicle, it's a deadly impact," said Const. Martin Fournel, spokesperson for MRC-des-Collines-de-l'Outaouais.
The two occupants of the first car escaped injury. However, two people in the second vehicle were killed instantly -- those victims have been identified as a 25-year-old female driver from Ottawa and her friend, 40-year-old Steven Leon from Gatineau, who was riding in the back seat. The bear was also killed.
The woman's boyfriend, a 28-year-old man from the Pontiac-area, was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision. He was taken to hospital in Hull to be treated for not life-threatening upper body injuries.
The woman's name will not be released at the request of her family.
"It's just unbelievable that out of the blue she's gone," said neighbour Jackie Mayer, who knew the 25-year-old woman and her boyfriend.
The couple lived just a few kilometres west of the crash, and had plans for the future.
"September -- I think she was taking dietician, and she was going to finish in September. And now it's all gone," said Mayer.
Police say the crash is extremely unusual, and investigators believe it's the first time a person in the area has died in a collision involving a bear.
People who live near the crash site say this is the second time a vehicle has struck a bear in the last few weeks. But last time, no one got hurt.
Residents say they think a bear bait station set up by hunters in the woods nearby might be responsible for attracting more bears to the highway.
Although bear hunting in that part of Quebec is legal, residents want hunters to think twice about where they put their bear bait.
"I don't have any opposition to people hunting bears, but they are bringing bears in from all over, and there's a playground here and a highway here and there is lots of houses around it, so maybe not a good place for this kind of activity," resident Sheila McCrindle told CTV Ottawa.
Police are investigating the circumstances leading up to the crash and are asking drivers to be on the lookout for animals on the highway, whether it's a bear, deer or another animal.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem