Van with Charlotte marathoners hits, kills 300-pound bear

Black Bear
Black Bear

A rental van loaded with people from Charlotte hit and killed a black bear while traveling to last weekend’s Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon, according to Tennessee media outlets.

It happened at about 4:45 a.m Sept. 9, when driver Matt Sharp of Charlotte crested a hill at the Sevier and Blount County line in Tennessee, reported the Maryville Daily Times of Blount County. Eight passengers were in the van at the time and none were injured, it was reported

“A bear walks out in the roadway,” Sharp was quoted as saying by the Daily Times. “The bear hit us and rolled to the left.”

The group thought the bear recovered and fled, but the website GoodAnimal.com reports Tennessee wildlife agents found a dead 300-pound male bear in a ditch near the site two days later.

The group included race volunteers and runners from the nonprofit RunningWorks, reported GoodAnimal.com. RunningWorks’ Facebook page said it had 11 team members headed to the event. The agency has an office on Fairview Road in Charlotte.