Driver hits 400-pound bear on Highway 101

April 4, 2016

BlackBearA Grover Beach woman collided with a bear while driving on Highway 101 Saturday night near Santa Margarita. The crashed killed the bear and caused the woman’s vehicle to flip over and slide about 50 feet down the highway. [Tribune]

Lynai Williams, 21, managed to open the door of her upside down car and get out of the vehicle. She walked away from the crash without any injuries.

Williams said at first she was not sure if she had been hit by another car or a deer. The Grover Beach woman said running into a bear was the last thing she would have expected.

The crash occurred around 11:30 p.m. north of Highway 58. Williams was driving home alone from a Paso Robles bowling alley at the time.

Williams said she was not distracted prior to the accident, and she was wearing a seatbelt. She also said she hopes people are not mad at her for hurting the bear.

CHP Sgt. Timothy Wilson said he could not confirm any information about the crash, but he said it was not unusual for such an accident to occur. Bears and other large animals are known to wander onto Highway 101 north of the Cuesta Grade.

The CHP estimated the bear weighed about 400 pounds. That size is large for a bear.

Caltrans has installed electrified pads on four roads near Tassajara Creek to deter animals from crossing. Caltrans has also been placing barbed-wire fences in the area, which are equipped with special wildlife fencing. It is unclear how successful the measures have been.



  1. Rambunctious says:

    Be careful if you drive Hi 41 or 46. A lot of Raccoon, Skunk and yes some Bear this time of year……

    (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
  2. Perspicacious says:

    She hopes people are not mad at her for hurting the bear? Seriously? It was night and the bear was black. The MOST attentive driver would have hit it most likely. Yet she hopes people aren’t mad at her?

    Geez are we in trouble!

    Anybody else think we need to FINALLY have a bear hunting season?

    (-5) 23 Total Votes - 9 up - 14 down
  3. mej says:

    You know why you got so many thumbs down. Because most people think inattention is about the phone or reaching for something or eating.

    But really, ask a CHP and they will tell you this. Real attention is being 100 percent focused and engaged. That means constant scanning of the road ahead/ behind/ and the sides of the road ahead, as well as overpasses. The girl would likely have seen the bear had she been attentive the way pretty much no one is.

    I think you are correct. Inattention and probably speed.

    Here is a dare to all of you who gave thumbs down. Try being attentive by talking out loud to yourself as you drive. You say everything you see, whether it is road signs or cars approaching from the rear or pedestrians on the side of the road. Continue with this dialogue, saying every single thing you see. Bet you can’t stay focused like that for more than a few. I would bet a lot of you will realize you are not attentive.

    (-16) 32 Total Votes - 8 up - 24 down
    • mej says:

      To North County Guy

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • RonHolt says:

      11:30 at night, a BLACK bear. Under some circumstances it might have been possible to see it but under many others it probably wasn’t. I am certainly not going to judge Ms. Williams harshly on this one without some real evidence that she should have seen it.

      (22) 26 Total Votes - 24 up - 2 down
      • mej says:

        Who knows? Right. I’m glad the girl came out okay.

        Still, I’ve driven around this county long enough to know that speeding, tailgating, inattention and impatience is a huge problem.

        (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
  4. Ted Slanders says:

    We can only wonder if some kids were making fun of a bald man in Santa Margarita, and said bald man conjured up a curse in the name of the Lord as Elisha did to school these mocking kids, by Yahweh God sending bears to maul them. I wonder if this could have been one of the bears involved in this godly act.

    “From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you bald head!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.” (2 Kings 2:23-24)

    Have there been any kids that were mauled by a bear in Santa Margarita? If so, our Hebrew god of the Christian faith has made Himself known once again, praise!

    (-13) 31 Total Votes - 9 up - 22 down
  5. SLO_Johnny says:

    I hope that someone tried to track the bear to see if it can be saved or if it must be killed. Wounded bears can be very dangerous or the bear could suffer a horrible death if it was severely injured.

    (-11) 19 Total Votes - 4 up - 15 down
  6. NorthCountyGuy says:

    Highway 101 is clearly marked with beware of bears crossing the highway signs. Was this driver driving while distracted or with her head up her butt????

    (-47) 63 Total Votes - 8 up - 55 down
    • T-Bone says:

      Evidently that darned bear didn’t read the beware of bear sign.

      (36) 38 Total Votes - 37 up - 1 down
    • abigchocoholic says:

      Highway 101 is clearly marked with beware of bears crossing the highway signs. Was this driver driving while distracted or with her head up her butt????
      Your joking right?

      You think the bear announced itself before jumping in front of her car? You do know the bear is black and not wearing it’s lime green safety night vest with reflectors, right?

      (52) 60 Total Votes - 56 up - 4 down
    • Scarlet says:

      Seriously? How about: I’m glad you’re ok, Lynai. Be careful out there.

      (47) 51 Total Votes - 49 up - 2 down
    • CharlesInCharge says:

      Just because your head is up your arse, don’t assume everyone else shares your same view.

      (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
  7. Jorge Estrada says:

    The bear obviously crossed the Highway where the fencing was not. This is another example of the dangers that exist along the San Luis Obispo to Santa Margarita corridor. Caltrans just doesn’t get it, pedestrians, and a network of roadways were there first yet Caltrans is focused on upgrading this corridor to a Freeway status. Notice the improvements like the concrete barriers, the same they threaten to block roadway crossing with. Caltrans does not have a plan for these issues with the exception of the spotty game fencing. The public will be next and Caltrans will defer the mitigation to our County Public Works, that’s right, “Local Control”. Forget the trickle down money unless you have more to trickle out of your pockets, Caltrans will yields to public pressure but truthfully when their cost to fund litigation threatens their pension, the plan for their fix is then drafted.

    (3) 19 Total Votes - 11 up - 8 down
  8. Paso_Guy says:

    Only a day late…good job!

    (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down

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