On a recent night, there was a traffic accident on Route 22 in Patterson that held up traffic for two hours.
A male driver had struck a telephone pole just adjacent to Stan’s Auto Body Shop. The next day NYSEG came to repair it, shop employee Kyle Mishk said.
One of the crew members told the employees of the auto body shop that there was a dead bear cub down in the ditch that was covered with leaves, Mishk said.
Thinking that the electrical workers would alert the authorities, the shop’s employees all left for their three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.
But upon their return, they discovered the decomposing bear cub had been dragged closer to auto body shop’s sign..
“We believed it was dragged up by the mom,” Mishk said.
They wondered if the bear cub hadn’t been a casualty, or potentially the cause, of the car accident on Thursday night
“It wasn’t like it had been eaten, it looked like it was in an accident,” Mishk said of the gory injuries to the young bear that appeared to be somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds.
Eventually, a crew from the New York State Department of Transportation retrieved the decomposing carcass, according to the DEC Region 3 spokesperson, Wendy Rosenbach.
Mishk said there were skid marks on the road just before the telephone pole, and he and his co-workers couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the driver had been distracted by the surprise sighting of a black bear at the busiest intersection of town.
As it turns out, the bear wasn’t the cause of the accident, but the mystery remains as to how the cub wound up dead in a ditch next to such a heavily traveled and well-populated area.
A New York State Trooper at the Brewster barracks said the driver, who was OK after the accident, said that he was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car and hit the poll.
DEC’s Rosenback said that there are three regional populations of black bears in New York State that over the last decade have grown significantly in numbers.
Because of that, the DEC opened a hunting season on black bears in designated areas in Putnam County and other areas east of the Hudson River in order to cull part of the rising population.
Mishk said that he has lived in southern Dutchess County for his entire life and will hear of bear sightings from time to time but in much less human-populated and commercially developed areas.
Mishk said that workers from the Patterson Highway Department told him the last time they had heard of a bear hit by a car was in a much more remote area on the Taconic Parkway about a month ago.