Bear dragged away car crash victim’s body

Car hit barriers and plunged into woods next to highway in Massachusetts

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 07 May 2024 15:38 BST
Black bears are found across parts of New England (stock image)
Black bears are found across parts of New England (stock image) (AFP via Getty Images)

A bear dragged a car crash victim from his vehicle in Massachusetts on Sunday before fleeing the scene when first responders arrived, according to reports.

The crashed car was found on the side of the I-91 in Hatfield at around 11am after hitting barriers and plunging into the woods next to the highway.

Massachusetts State Police (MSP) said in an initial report that the driver was possibly ejected, or partially ejected, from the vehicle. A bear then reportedly dragged him away from the car before police arrived.

The victim, identified by local news outlets as Daniel Ducharme, 31, was possibly already dead when the bear arrived, according to police. The Independent has contacted MSP for comment.

Black bears are found across parts of New England
Black bears are found across parts of New England (AFP via Getty Images)

Police are investigating what caused Mr Ducharme to lose control of his vehicle, and at what point he died.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs told Western Mass News that the department had “euthanized a bear in Hatfield” and that there was “no threat to public safety”.

Massachusetts’ Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says that bears are found across western and central parts of the state, where Hatfield is located. There are an estimated 4,500 bears in the area.

Bears have been moving further east in recent years, according to wildlife experts. In November, a 300lb black bear, known as Pumpkin, was killed by a hunter after he attacked a goat in Whitman, in south-east Massachusetts. Another bear was shot by a resident in Kingston, Massachusetts, in August 2023.

Mass. Wildlife says that bears do not usually attack unless provoked, with those hiking in woods told to make the animals aware of their presence by clapping, talking or making other sounds.

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