SUV Crashes Into Bear at 70mph, Leaving Animal Dead and Car in a Ditch

A pair of friends have been left injured and a bear has lost its life after a high-speed collision in Crow Wing County, in Minnesota.

20-year-old Cynthia Thompson and 19-year-old Tyler Peterson were traveling northbound on Highway 25 towards Brainerd on the evening of Friday, April 23, when the vehicle they were driving struck a bear.

Peterson was behind the wheel of Thompson's SUV, a Hyundai Santa Fe, which hit the animal with such force that the vehicle deviated from the road and hit a tree, before overturning and rolling into a ditch.

According to Thompson, they were traveling at 70 miles per hour when the car collided with the bear, which "came out of nowhere."

"With that impact, it literally felt like we hit a brick wall," she told CBS Minnesota, adding that Peterson had initially thought that they had collided with another car.

"I remember being hit, I remember being whipped around the car. I was terrified. I didn't think that I was going to be OK. Like I literally thought that I was going to die," said Thompson.

The North Star State is home to around 15,000 black bears, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Black bears are omnivorous and can grow up to 7ft long and 500lbs, and though they generally try to avoid humans, they're also known to travel long distances in search of food, particularly ahead of winter hibernation.

They also mate between May and July, and mating ranges for male black bears can span more than 10 miles in diameter.

The Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) report, which was taken at 8.49 p.m. local time, said that road conditions were wet at the time. Both Thompson and Peterson were wearing their seat belts, and alcohol was not a factor in the incident.

The MSP report reads: "The Hyundai Santa Fe was traveling northbound on highway 25 near Ox Cart Trail when it struck a bear on the highway.

"The Hyundai went off the road from the collision striking a tree and then overturned."

Thompson said that when the car settled, she was able to unbuckle herself and Peterson, both of whom were suspended upside down in the vehicle.

They then crawled out of the glass-strewn car through the back window, before making their way back to the road and flagging down a passing driver for help.

The two friends were taken to the nearby Essentia Health Center in Brainerd to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, including bruising and a minor concussion for Thompson.

A black bear in northern Minnesota
A stock image shows a black bear, unrelated to the animal that was killed in the collision. Minnesota is home to between 12,000 and 15,000 black bears. iStock