— BARTON, MD — A vehicle hit and killed a 200-pound male bear in the westbound lane of Interstate 68 Wednesday morning about one mile east of the truck weigh station on Big Savage Mountain, according to Jim Mullan of the Wildlife & Heritage Service.
“By the time I got there the bear had expired near the side of the highway,” Mullan said, adding he observed damage to the front end of the automobile.
Maryland State Police were the first authorities on the scene.
The alert came in at about 9:30 a.m.
Commenting on the Cumberland Times-News Facebook page, Toshia Miller said she was driving her Ford Freestyle that struck the bear.
“I would like to thank the two very caring gentlemen that stopped to make sure I was ok and (called) 911,” she wrote. “Words can not express how much I appreciated your compassion and kindness. I didn’t get any names, so I hope somehow, someway they can see this.”
The number of bears that have died on Maryland roads this year has risen to 22, according to an unofficial count maintained by the Cumberland Times-News.
Here are the most recent fatalities:
• On July 6, a 115-pound female bear was killed on Interstate 68 one mile east of Keysers Ridge.
• On July 12, a male bear weighing 110 pounds was struck and killed on U.S. Route 219 at Bill’s Marina on Deep Creek Lake.
• On July 13, a 104-pound male died on U.S. Route 219 just south of Oakland.
Clarissa Harris of the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service said there have been plenty of calls about nuisance bears and a number of traps have been set. One bear killed chickens at a residence on Elk Ridge Road near Grantsville.
On Stockslager Road at McHenry, a bear got at least partially into a home through a window and got away with a T-bone steak and some butter. Harris said a team of DNR cooperators with bear dogs was in the area and treed a sow. “It was one of our collared sows, but she has slipped the collar. We put a new one on her.” Harris believes the sow was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was not the home invader, because shortly afterward a bear was reported right back at the residence.
There has been a lot of bear activity and sightings in Frederick County, according to Harris.