UPDATE: Bear may have caused deputy to flip cruiser on US 27 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Bear may have caused deputy to flip cruiser on US 27

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UPDATE: HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) A Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy went to the hospital after flipping his car on Highway 27 Northbound, Wednesday morning.
It happened in Soddy Daisy near the Sequoyah exit. Wildlife officials have not received any reports of a bear in the area, but several drivers claim to have seen the animal roaming in the area.

" We definitely had an interesting morning around 6 a.m. our deputy was driving Northbound on Highway 27 near Sequoyah road exit," said Matt Lea, Hamilton County Sheriff's Dept. 

Officials say that deputy swerved suddenly to miss a large black animal, running on the highway. 

"We're not really really sure what type of animal it was," said Lea. "Based on the description we believe it to possibly be a large bear."

The deputy's patrol car rolled over into the embankment. Deputies say the animal got away. About an hour and a half before the crash, driver Trish Newsom says she too had a close call.

" He was in the middle of my lane, it was almost like a nightmare or a dream ," said Newsom. 

Newsom says she swerved to miss the animal just in time.

" I was numb head to toe, it startled me," said Newsom. " I mean it just literally appeared. If I had looked down at my radio, I would have hit it... that's how fast it happened."

TWRA officials say while there haven't been any bear sightings reported that doesn't mean they're not there. Bears are on the move this time of year, looking for food. Channel 3 featured a couple last December after they hit a bear cub in Catoosa county. 
They were near the Ringgold exit on I-75 when it happened. 

"With mating season beginning and with warm weather, we're going to have a lot more juvenile animals in the area," said Lea. 

Authorities are asking everyone to slow down and be cautious.

 "We're glad the officer was okay," said Lea. 

The deputy was released from the hospital, he's expected to be back to work soon. Wildlife experts say you should never run from a bear or approach it if it's injured. If you see one near a populated area or on the road call 911.

UPDATE: The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene of a deputy car crash on Hwy 27 near Sequoyah Road around 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Officials say an on-duty Hamilton County Sheriff's deputy was involved in a single-car crash while trying to dodge a large animal, allegedly a bear.

The deputy swerved off the road, which cause the vehicle to flip over.

Officials say other motorists witnessed the animal, but due to the darkness outside and quickness of the animal, they were unable to identify what it was.

The deputy has been transported to a local hospital. The HCSO says the deputy is doing well, and there no major injuries to report.

The HCSO wants to remind motorists to be cautious as the weather begins to warm up in the area.

Officials say Spring is a notable time for increased animal activity near roadways and other highly traveled areas. 

PREVIOUS STORY: The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department says it was possibly a bear on Highway 27 that caused a deputy to crash Wednesday morning.

The Hamilton County deputy flipped his patrol car on Hwy 27 northbound near the Sequoyah exit.

The deputy said it was a large dark animal, possibly a bear, that ran into the roadway and caused him to swerve to miss the animal. His vehicle left the road and rolled over.

Other drivers witnessed the animal but were unclear exactly what it was.

The deputy was taken to the hospital but he has no serious injuries and is said to be doing fine.

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