A black bear got on Highway 4 after sundown Thursday and a westbound car crashed into the animal, killing the 27-year-old woman driver, a 19-month-old girl and the bear.
A 4-year-old boy in the car, also a resident of Copperopolis, sustained minor injuries and was flown by helicopter to the University of Davis, California, Medical Center, California Highway Patrol Officer John Fernandez said in a statement.
Names of the three people involved in the crash were not released by law enforcement. Authorities were still trying to contact family of the deceased victims, Kevin Raggio, Calaveras County coroner, said Friday afternoon.
The bear got on Highway 4 between Parrotts Ferry Road and Murphys about 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, west of Holiday Mine Road, Fernandez said.
The woman was driving a 2002 Subaru Impreza west on Highway 4 at 55 to 60 miles per hour. The bear entered the road directly in the path of the Subaru, and the car struck the bear and killed it, Fernandez said.
At the same time, “force of the impact with the bear caused major intrusion into the passenger compartment of the vehicle,” Fernandez said. “The driver and her 19-month-old passenger sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collisio
Alcohol and drugs were not believed to be factors in the crash. Fernandez described conditions at the time of the crash as cloudy and dry. Sundown before the crash occurred was about 4:45 p.m.