Bear trapped in Asheville car punches through windshield to escape


A North Carolina family woke up last Thursday morning to a mama bear that smashed through the windshield of their car at their home in Asheville, North Carolina. The family believe the bear was stuck in the car for more than six hours all night.

Ashley McGowin, 47, left her dogs outside around 6.30am when she noticed the car’s hazard flashing. “They [my dogs] started barking like there was something in the yard,” McGowin told WLOS.

When she came back outside with her husband, she found that her dogs were reacting to a large black bear stuck in their car. The couple noticed the bear just in time for it to punch a hole in the front windshield and escape. McGowin was able to capture a few moments of the bear’s escape on his phone.

The bear then ran into a nearby treeline, where her cubs were waiting. Once the bears were out of sight, McGowin and his family inspected the car and found it completely destroyed inside. A neighbor heard the car horn sound around midnight, leading the family to believe the bear had been trapped for more than six hours.

Photos of McGowin’s vehicle after the incident. Courtesy of WLOS.

“The bears are in our yard frequently, but they keep to themselves,” McGowin told WLOS. “It was very distressing for me to see the distressed and suffering mama bear inside my car. It seemed like she was happy to be together with her cubs, and they just walked away.

Damage to the car is considered a total loss by the family’s insurance company. If that’s not enough, McGowin’s son Seth McGowin also had his schoolwork destroyed by the bear.

“The bear, unfortunately, peed on the book I was reading at school,” Seth told WLOS. “And ate my homework.”

Photo of McGowin’s vehicle showing where the incident occurred. Courtesy of WLOS.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission advises keeping a safe distance during bear sightings for the benefit of people and animals. According to the state organization’s website, “bears live in many counties in North Carolina, and they are generally not dangerous unless humans feed or provoke them.”

Luckily, the mother bear and her cubs escaped unharmed together and won’t be prosecuted as a threat to humans.

Photo of McGowin’s vehicle after the incident. Courtesy of WLOS.


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