Man in critical condition after motorcycle-versus-bear crash in New Hampton

Monitor staff
Published: 6/20/2016 7:18:25 PM

The two riders of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Route 104 in New Hampton had no chance to dodge when a bear ran into their path Sunday evening, the fire chief said.

Traveling about 55 mph, the driver struck the bear about 4:30 p.m. in the area of the 104 Diner, flinging the passengers – a man and a woman – from the motorcycle. Both riders were believed to have been wearing helmets, Chief Mike Drake said.

The man suffered serious injuries to his head and chest. Traffic departing after the end of Laconia Motorcycle Week was halted for an hour and 15 minutes so the man could be evacuated from the middle of the congested highway, which travels between Interstate 93 and Meredith. Traffic was backed up for miles, the chief said.

The man was in “critical condition” and was transported by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Drake said. The chief said he was notified Monday morning “that the gentleman was still alive.”

The female passenger suffered “abrasions, contusions and lacerations,” but was not listed in critical condition, Drake said. She was transported by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital.

The bear, meanwhile, ran off into the woods in an area that is known to firefighters for vehicle-versus-animal accidents. It was spotted running through the yard of a nearby residence on Baldwin Avenue, Drake said.

“There’s a lot of animals that get hit on (Route) 104 throughout the year,” he said, adding that they emerge from the woods so abruptly that drivers have no time to react.

A woman who said she’s a nurse posted on Facebook that she tended to the man at the scene of the accident. Posting under the name Tricia Lucia, she said the passengers were a father and daughter, and the man was “in a coma and had a good pulse but head injury.”

“Not good at all,” she wrote on the Rockingham Alert page, where users post information about emergency incidents.

Though the bear “could have run off and died,” Drake said, it appeared okay when it was last seen.

“You would have thought that it would have killed the bear, but bears are pretty tough animals,” he said.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)




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