FIRST ON 3: Bear dashes after bumping Sequatchie County cruiser
SEQUATCHIE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Deputy Jason Harvey is completing an uneventful patrol, winding his way down Highway 127, Friday night.
Uneventful, becomes otherwise: quickly.
"Just below the scenic overlook, a black bear jumped into the road," Sheriff Ronnie Hitchcock says.
Deputy Harvey's cruiser camera records the entire episode: a cub, getting his backside stubbed.
"One of our patrol cars has hit a bear on Signal Mountain," the Sheriff's dispatcher phones the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
"Knocked it down the road 25-30 feet," Sheriff Hitchcock says.
"Did he kill it," the TWRA asks the dispatcher. "I don't know," she replies.
Harvey, a six-year veteran known as a deputy of few words, apparently has trouble, finding any.
"He had to put his thoughts together," Sheriff Hitchcock recalls. "He couldn't tell even where he was at the moment."
"I'm trying to locate it," Deputy Harvey radios dispatch. "It got up and took off."
Skedaddled, as the video makes clear, back into the woods from whence he came, leaving nary a trail.
"Apparently, it's still in the vicinity," the dispatcher relays to the TWRA. "Whatever that meant."
A close encounter for the third time, the Sheriff says, for Sequatchie Countians this season.
"About three weeks ago, my nephew had one come up on his back porch," Sheriff Hitchcock says.
Raiding the bird feeders, Sheriff Hitchcock figures that the cub's Friday night stroll and roll began as a grab for easy grub.
"The best way for people not to have to worry about this is just don't put out food where they can have access to it," he says.
Deputy Harvey's cruiser suffered minimal damage; all Sheriff's Department vehicles have protective cages mounted on their front bumpers.
Harvey himself apparently has suffered no ill effects; save a few shots to his dignity.
"He's probably gonna get a new nickname," Sheriff Hitchcock says, laughing.