Bear killed in area|Andalusia woman hits it with car

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

By by Stephanie Nelson
special to the standard

An Andalusia woman got the shock of her life last weekend after striking and killing a 265-pound bear on Plywood Mill Road in Covington County.
Randall Lee, a state conservation officer, said the driver of the Ford Explorer, Michelle Torres, was not injured during the accident.
Covington County is home to a sizeable bear population, thanks to its location between Mobile and Escambia counties, the area known as the Tensaw Delta, and Eglin Air Force Base, Lee said. However, the bear struck over the weekend was one of the largest bears Lee said he seen in Covington County in a while.
Lee said the woman thought she struck a wild hog and contacted family members. Upon closer examination of the accident site, they found the bear in the ditch.
Lee said state officials plan to have the bear mounted for display.
Torres had several passengers in the vehicle at the time. The group was out trick-or-treating when the accident occurred.
One of the passengers, Caitlin Jernigan, 15, said the incident was scary, because the driver and passengers thought they had hit a hog. Jernigan said they turned around and saw the animal crawling toward the ditch, but were too scared to get out of the vehicle.
While black bears are known to live in Alabama, they aren’t often seen in Covington County. In May 2008, a Florala couple spotted a bear in a tree in their backyard. They later learned the bear was tagged and had been released from the Niceville area.
Lee said he also has had a recent report of a game camera catching images of a black bear.