CODY – “I’m an 80-year-old granny who has killed a grizzly bear,” Lynne Simpson said.
The Cody resident barely even saw the bear before impact. It was a mid-September evening ruined by a sudden turn of events on the North Fork Highway near the Pahaska Teepee Resort.
The incident was the first of two bear-vehicle collisions in the past two months.
Dusty Lasseter, Wyoming Game and Fish Bear Wise coordinator, said bear-related vehicle accidents are rare, with typically only two to three in the entire west per year. It’s likely the bear was frequenting the many gooseberry patches that border US 14A.
“Bears are pretty intelligent,” Lasseter said. “They’re not prone to hitting vehicles.”
“He’s looking right into my soul,” Simpson said of the moment her Honda Accord struck the 2 to 3-year old grizzly, who locked eyes with the creature as it crunched onto her front hood.
“I watched him die,” Simpson said. “I’m not particularly proud of that.”
It took about 5 minutes from the point of impact for the bear to die, an interminable time Simpson and her husband Pete Simpson – parked behind her – stayed in their vehicles, uneasy about approaching the dying bear and concerned about a possible mother bear nearby.
“I stayed in the car rather than getting out and attacked while it was still alive,” Simpson said.
The bear perished on the front of her hood. Thanks to help from two passersby, who pulled the young bear off the car, Lynne Simpson never had to physically deal with it.
“An old lady loves compliments from handsome cowboys,” Simpson said, chuckling.
Wyoming Game and Fish also responded to the incident.
Simpson said the accident occurred at dusk when visibility was poor.