Bear and car collide in Rockport

Posted:  Friday, June 16, 2017 - 7:45pm
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ROCKPORT — Drivers in Maine know they have to be vigilant for the possibility of moose and deer darting out in front of their vehicles, but now there is another sizable mammal roaming the roadways, challenging motorists to maximize their driving skills to avoid collisions.

The Maine black bears have emerged from their winter hibernations, are back into their routines and are foraging for food at their favorite neighborhood haunts.  

On Thursday, June 16, a black bear appeared in Rockport and as it was crossing Route 17 (Rockland Street) heading towards Mirror Lake, it collided with a jeep at 1:41 p.m.

According to Rockport Police Officer Tony Del Vecchio, Cindy Prock, 60, of Union, was traveling west on Rockland Street as a black bear, which witnesses described as “very large,” was scampering across the road.

Police said there was minor damage to Prock’s 2016 Jeep after she struck the bear. Prock and her 18-year-old passenger were both uninjured and the vehicle was able to be driven from the scene.

Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said that although there was animal hair in the vehicle’s grill and clumps of hair on the side of the road, firefighters did not see a blood trail from the impact so they are hoping for the best.

Peasley added that for many of the first responders at the accident scene, this was their first experience with a bear vs. human collision.

Before the incident in Rockport, the most recent bear vs. car collision in Maine was reported by WCSH 6 just four days ago, June 12, when a black bear, estimated to have weighed 250 pounds, was killed in Wells. The Wells Police Department reported that there were no injuries to the driver.

According to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website, Maine is home to the largest population of black bears in the lower 48 states and they are most active from April 1-Nov. 1.

Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne reported the incident to the Maine Warden Service.

The incident could have been a lot worse than it was. The jeep will need some minor repairs, but the driver and passenger are okay and hopefully the “Rockport bear” is relaxing back in its den after this close call.

Reach Sarah Shepherd at news@penbaypilot.com