BRATTLEBORO -- Witnesses say a large black bear crossing the northbound lane of I-91 caused a multi-vehicle crash late Saturday night when a vehicle struck and killed the animal.
According to Vermont State Police Trooper Nader Hashim, at about 11 p.m. members of the Vernon Police, Vermont State Police and rescue crews were dispatched to mile marker 4.6 to the scene of a five car crash.
Hashim stated that the first car, a 2008 Honda Civic, driven by 70-year-old Edward G. Novy, of West Dover, sustained damage to the front bumper, undercarriage and rear passenger side tire when it hit the bear.
After Novy’s vehicle: a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, driven Mandy Traineau, 54, of Springfield; a 2012 Hyundai Elantra driven by Paul K. Konnis, 75, of Bluffton, S.C.; a 2010 Subaru Legacy, driven by Nicholas A. Ogurick, 28, of Thomaston, Conn.; and a 2010 Toyota Prius driven by Carrie A. Walker, 62, of Dummerston.
None of the drivers were able to avoid hitting the bear and each of their vehicles sustained "significant damage" to the hoods, front bumpers and undercarriages, Hashim said.
All of the drivers were wearing their seat belts, which the trooper said probably saved them from suffering any injuries.
Hashim said because it was dark and the bear was black, it would have been very difficult to see the animal as it climbed over the guardrail and tried to run across the highway.
"Its body mixed in well with the night," he said.