Wounded bear missing in action

Prince William County police officials are telling residents of the Greenhill Crossing subdivision in Haymarket to be on the lookout for a black bear spotted in the area Thursday afternoon.

A City Watch message informing nearby homeowners went out to 585 Haymarket residents after a car struck a bear on Va. 55 at about 2 p.m. near Tyler Elementary School.

No one in the vehicle was injured, said Sgt. Kim Chinn, Prince William County police spokeswoman. As of late Thursday afternoon the bear had not been found. Witnesses at the scene said the bear ran off into the woods after it was hit; it did not seem to be badly injured but was noticeably agitated.

County police officers used dogs to search the nearby woods for the injured bear. Chinn said it was the advice of the local game warden to leave the area in order to allow the bear to reappear, and the search was called off.

“The bear was hit next to Tyler Elementary School and those children were held in school about 45 minutes after the accident,” Chinn said. “Those children who live near the school and usually walk home were escorted to their houses by police officers.”

Last Thursday, a 1-year-old 160 pound black bear was spotted in the Coverstone area near Va. 234 and caught by a representative from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries after the sighting was called in by nearby residents. Officials tranquilized the bear, firing three darts into him, loaded the bear onto a paddy wagon and released him in G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management area in Markham.

If residents notice a bear in their area they are asked to call the Prince William County Police Department at (703) 792-6500 for non-emergencies.

Staff writer Trina Goethals can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 121.

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