Black bear killed by car in Jackson

Tuesday, June 6, 2006
A black bear laid in the grass outside a local taxidermist where it was taken after being struck and killed by a car Sunday night on U.S. 61 just west of Interstate 55. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

Four or five bear sightings have been reported north of Jackson this year. The latest occurred much closer to home Sunday, when a car struck and killed a 200-pound black bear on East Jackson Boulevard in the city limits.

Two 16-year-old girls from Jackson in the car were not seriously injured in the 9:30 p.m. accident.

"The bear jumped out in front of the car," Capt. Robert Bonney of the Jackson Police Dept. said.

The collision occurred on the west side of the city near the McDowell South car dealership across from Kohlfeld Distributing and near the home of Cape Girardeau County Collector Diane Diebold, who went out to look at the aftermath.

"It looked like a large man lying on the side of the road with black clothes on," she said.

Darin Pettit, Missouri Department of Conservation agent for Cape Girardeau County, said a bear coming so far into the city is rare. "More than likely, he was just roaming around, trying to establish new ranges," Pettit said. "He was just passing through and got in a bad spot."

Bonney, who has been with the police department for 26 years, has never seen anything like this before in the area. "It's always been something else, but never a bear," Bonney said. "It's very unique."

The Missouri Department of Conservation is handling the remains of the bear, which measured 66 inches in length. Today, a local taxidermist will take the bear's hide. Then the remains will be shipped to a Department of Conservation research facility in Columbia, Mo., for analysis.

The hide will be displayed as an educational tool at a conservation facility.

"We will utilize the bear in some way," Pettit said.

Bear sightings in Missouri have increased over the past few years, he said.

While unusual, the bear venturing so far into town gives people the opportunity to learn about animals and safety, Pettit said. "Keep your food up, keep your garbage secure, because that not only will attract bears but other types of animals."

sludwig@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 211

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