An Encounter With A Bear

After the Taylor Swift concert (and Eagles concert) we got back on the road to head home. I was cranky and tired, so I laid down in the back seat while dad took the wheel and mom co-captained. It had only been about an hour or so when suddenly I hear the car horn and feel my dad slam on the breaks. Then, I see my mom’s arm cross over to cover my dad and she says, “Dave, the bear!” I look up and out the windshield and I see a big black bear just standing in the middle of our lane. Just like this guy here, except our bear was way bigger! 
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I couldn’t believe it. My dad had nowhere to go! There were cars in the right lane, so he couldn’t get over and had he tried to swerve left he would have ended up in the median. So, BOOM! We hit the bear. I don’t really remember it, honestly. I can’t even remember the impact. I must have closed my eyes for it.

Apparently, what had happened was this: I was sleeping in the back seat. My dad was driving in the left lane of 66West.  My mom and dad saw the bear come out of the woods on the far right side of the interstate. All of a sudden the bear had walked out onto the road.  When my dad honked the horn the bear stopped and turned to look at us. That’s when the hit happened. Note to self ~ When you see a bear in the middle of the road DON’T HONK YOUR HORN! Think, Bear in Headlights!

As soon as the hit happened my dad’s car shut down immediately. He stopped the car as soon as he could. I saw smoke coming into the back seat so I jumped out of the car faster than The Flash.  My mom was afraid the bear was still there, so she stayed in the car until she felt safe enough to get out. I was seriously afraid the car might explode (I’ve clearly watched too many movies).  I went around to the front of the car to see how bad it was.

It was bad!
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The car’s hood was completely pushed into the body so badly that you couldn’t open it. The right headlight was smashed up and the bulb itself fell out of the car on impact. My dad found it a little ways down behind us. The grill popped out of the front fender. The radiator was leaking out of the left side of the car. When I saw the radiator fluid leaking out I definitely thought the car was going to explode! It didn't.
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Mom called 911 and they sent a state trooper out right away. He showed up super-fast! A very nice gentleman pulled up behind us, having seen what happened, and wanted to make sure we were okay. He saw us hit the bear and said after it was hit the bear looked like it might have flown five or six feet into the air. After the bear landed it ran off into the woods. There was a VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) guy, Cody, who happened to be on the road when all of this happened. He saw dad’s break lights and us pull over, but he didn’t see the bear. Cody said that’s he’s been working that stretch of 66 for a little over a year and he’s encountered 13 or 14 accidents due to bears!
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Cody called VDOT to get some guys out to us that would wait until the tow truck arrived. That’s when Cory and Mark showed up. Really nice guys. They waited with us on the side of 66 until Aaron’s Towing showed up. We were parked on the side of 66 for about two hours! I had a redneck to prove it J  Randall towed us into Front Royal, VA and my parents rented a car to get back to Roanoke. 
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I took the wheel the rest of the way home. My parents were pretty shaken up. Had I not been sleeping for the first 85% of the experience I would have been too. We made it home after a very long day. We left NOVA around 12:30/1:00pm and got home around 8:30pm.  No one got hurt, except the bear and my dad’s car, that is. The next day dad found out from the insurance adjuster that the car was considered totaled. It would have cost way more to fix my dad’s 2007 Volvo than what it was actually worth at that point.

Dad kept his awesome license plate and the front grill (silly boy) and he got a 2011 Volvo, just in time for his 60th birthday!

If you’re out there on the roads, please be careful! Just two days after our experience a friend of our's was driving down 64 and a bear ran out in front of him! I did a little research and it turns out that this has been happening more frequently than usual. Bears are usually seen more often in the fall, but for some reason there are a lot coming out of the woods right now. 

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