‘I thought that I was going to die’: Friends crash into bear on highway at 70 mph

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 2:39 AM CDT
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BRAINERD, Minn. (WCCO) - A pair of friends from Minnesota are recovering after they hit a bear on the highway, causing their car to roll into a ditch.

Cynthia Thompson, 20, and her friend Tyler Peterson, 19, were looking forward to a Friday night with friends when they hit a bear on the highway in the dark of night. Peterson was the one driving at the time.

“I remember being hit. I remember being whipped around the car. I was terrified. I didn’t think I was going to be OK. I literally thought that I was going to die,” Thompson said. “It came out of nowhere. We didn’t even have time to stop. We hit it full-on at 70 miles per hour. With that impact, it literally felt like we hit a brick wall.”

The car then rolled into a ditch, hitting trees along the way.

“I was able to follow my seat belt, unbuckle myself. Then, I laid underneath Tyler because Tyler had all the broken glass underneath him. I laid under Tyler and unbuckled him and let him land on me,” Thompson said.

The friends were able to crawl out the back window and flag down a passing driver for help. They both were taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Responding law enforcement asked Thompson’s mom if she wanted to keep the dead bear. Thompson said no.

“I didn’t get to see the bear personally. I didn’t want to see the bear. I wanted nothing to do with the bear,” she said. “It was my car that got totaled. I just bought that car two months ago, too, and I just made my second car payment to it.”

Thompson has a minor concussion, a sprained ankle and bruises. Peterson is still sore from the crash.

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