Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Mike Middleton prepares to head into thick brush to check on a bear after it was struck by a pickup. Middleton found the bear, which already had died from the injuries it sustained in the collision.

Photo by John F. Russell

Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Mike Middleton prepares to head into thick brush to check on a bear after it was struck by a pickup. Middleton found the bear, which already had died from the injuries it sustained in the collision.

Bear dies after being hit by pickup near Milner

— A 300-pound adult bear was struck by a pickup and killed while crossing U.S. Highway 40 east of Milner on Wednesday afternoon.

Ted Elliott was traveling from Craig to Steamboat Springs as part of his job transferring a vehicle for Cook Chevrolet and Subaru. He said the bear bolted out of thick brush alongside the road and onto the highway. Elliott was traveling east along a section of the highway where the speed limit is 65 mph.

“I’ve only seen three bears in the wild,” Elliott said.

He said he did his best to avoid hitting the bear, but the animal collided with the side of the pickup he was driving and then spun around before limping back into the bushes that line the highway. Elliott was not injured in the collision, and there was minor damage to the truck.

The bear was seriously injured when it struck the vehicle but was able to make it off the highway. Colorado Parks and Wildlife district managers who were called to the accident think the bear died shortly after the collision.

“We get about half a dozen calls like this in a year,” manager Mike Middleton said. “It’s not real common, but it happens.”

Middleton said he planned to take samples from the bear including a tooth to help determine the bear’s age and some DNA samples for a study that the division is in the process of completing.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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