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Driver hits, kills black bear on Ohio Turnpike

What it's like to hit a black bear at 70 mph
What it's like to hit a black bear at 70 mph
What it's like to hit a black bear at 70 mph
What it's like to hit a black bear at 70 mph
Posted at 3:23 PM, May 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 08:09:51-04

It's something you don't see often, or ever, when driving on the highways and roads of Northeast Ohio. But one driver lived to tell the tale after hitting a black bear head-on.

Corbin Hardy, 27, was driving home to Westlake from West Virginia on Friday when a black bear darted across the Ohio Turnpike near State Route 5 in Warren.

"I was cruising down the middle lane, and at the very last second, I see a face, and it's the face of a bear. It was not even a 100 feet in front of me when it was crossing the lanes," said Hardy. "I only had time to lift my foot off the pedal."

Hardy said the bear was large and the impact was so intense that the airbags deployed and his engine was left smoking.

The bear was found on the left shoulder, around 100 yards from where it was initially hit.

"It was crazy. Nothing like hitting a deer. I was going 70 miles per hour, normal cruising speed and when I hit the bear, my car slowed down to around 50 mph. My head barely touched the airbag," Hardy said.

He totaled the 2010 Subaru Legacy that he purchased when he was 18, but was, fortunately, able to walk away without a scratch. Even his cabin was untouched.

Authorities told him that the bear most likely died on impact. "If it had to die, I'm grateful it was sudden," said Hardy.

Sightings of black bears in the last several weeks have increased. Last week, a black bear was spotted in Brecksvilletrying to get into a beehive.

Several days later, landscapers in Pepper Pike spotted a small black bear before it ran off into the woods.

Hardy credits his vehicle for letting him walk away without a scratch. His next car?

"Another Subaru Legacy, so my legacy will live on," he laughed.