Police euthanize bear after it was hit by car

The Juneau Police Department euthanized a bear after it was struck by a car in the Mendenhall Valley Wednesday night, according to police.

Shortly after 8 p.m., JPD received a call from a driver who had hit a black bear while driving on Mendenhall Loop Road near Kodzoff Acres Mobile Home Park.

The bear wasn’t killed on impact. JPD spokesman Lt. David Campbell said the driver informed police that it was walking around on the road in the area and that it seemed “confused” from the trauma.

Campbell said when officers responded, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recommended they euthanize the bear rather than let it suffer.

“It’s a really unfortunate situation when animals and cars come in contact and the animal has to be euthanized, but it’s the humane way to handle it,” Campbell said.

Katie Damian, a Juneau resident, said the incident happened right behind her house. She witnessed the bear being shot.

“The officer had a big ol’ shotgun, and right when I walked out of my house, he shot it,” she said. “I was like holy crap, and the bear went down for the count.”

Killing the bear was the right move, given its condition, Damian said. The police officers told her afterward that the bear’s two hind legs were broken and that “its face was pretty messed up,” she said.

Campbell wasn’t able to comment on the condition of the bear.

The Department of Fish and Game biologist who responded to the call was not available to comment Thursday.

Several bears are killed in car crashes in the capital city every summer. In late May, a motorcyclist collided with a black bear out the road near Eagle Beach and killed it instantly. Two of its orphaned cubs were found in nearby trees and were euthanized by Fish and Game, who said the cubs would not survive in the wild without their mother.

“It’s not an unusual occurrence,” Campbell said, of black bears being struck by cars. “It’s not frequent, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.”

Such accidents are more likely to occur around this time of year, as bears are more actively searching for food before hibernation. Bear sightings in town will begin to drop off in the next two weeks as they go to den.

Police said Wednesday’s incident will not be investigated further.

More in News

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Friday, Jan. 21

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

Ted Nordgaarden of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation imitates the gesture made by the defendant during the trial of a man charged with killing another man in Yakutat in 2018. (Screenshot)
Investigator testifies as trial concludes second week

The jury watched video of the defendant’s initial interview in custody.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. A commission tasked with reviewing legislative pay on Tuesday voted to raise the annual salary for Alaska lawmakers but to restrict the daily allowance lawmakers can receive. The changes will go forward unless the Legislature expressly rejects them. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
State lawmakers face proposed salary hike, allowance limits

A commission tasked with reviewing legislative pay on Tuesday voted to raise… Continue reading

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read