A couple was traveling home to Michigan on Interstate 75 Tuesday morning, when they hit something bizarre.
The driver thought he hit a cow or a deer but it turns out, it was a black bear trying to cross the highway. It happened near the Ringgold exit, in Catoosa County around 2 a.m. The couple called 9-1-1 immediately after it happened, Channel 3 obtained those calls recounting what happened.
"911 caller: I was driving down 75 North in the right-hand lane, I hit something in the road, a cow or a deer and I'm sitting on the side of the road and I don't know what to do "
Sherry and Pete Polleti were on their way home from Florida when it happened.
"We come up the ramp, my wife said 'oh my God' and them boom," said Pete Polleti.
"911 caller: I don't know if it was a deer ,cow or what... I ran over it to keep from getting hit by a truck."
They saw a big figure in the road but there was no time stop.
"You can't talk, we didn't say a word," said Sherry Polleti. "We realized we're gonna go and we didn't know where we were going to land. I told her to 'hold on' , I said 'hold on' then boop," said Pete Polleti.
Turns out it was a bear cub, hit by another driver. The mother bear was still waiting in the tree-line, when officers arrived.
"That part of the world in Catoosa County is not an area we have a lot for bears," said Adam Hammond, Wild Life Biologist, Bear Project Leader.
Hibernation is still a few weeks away so bears are gathering food. Wild life Biologist Adam Hammond says the cub could have weighed anywhere from 1 to 200 pounds. He says this is the first car to hit a bear in several years.
"You are much more likely to encounter deer on the road but again bears are not totally uncommon not to be unexpected, so keep your eyes open," said Hammond
The Polettis had to stay in a hotel because the car has too much damage to drive.
"It's going to take more than a week to repair it," said Pete Polleti. "I have to come back here to pick it up."
There is a chance the mother bear will be in the area looking for the cub. If you see a bear on the road never go near an injured animal, stay in your car and call police. It can hurt you and the chances are it isn't alone.
Monday, August 21 2017 4:21 AM EDT2017-08-21 08:21:48 GMT
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