News Briefs: Bakersfield man survives wreck, bear taken into custody

News Briefs: Bakersfield man
Central Valley Towing used its remote controlled wrecker to haul the crashed pickup up and over a boulder field. A second tow truck hauled the totaled pickup away from the scene of the crash.

Truck vs. Boulders

On Monday, August 3, Michael Purcell, 31, survived a brush with death. The Bakersfield motorist, was headed westbound on Hwy. 198 in a 2017 Dodge Ram pickup.  Shortly before 4 p.m. he entered the sharp curve just past 44021 Sierra Drive (one-quarter mile east of Salt Creek Drive) and noticed that his cell phone was finally in range. 

“I only glanced down for a second to see my MapQuest [navigation app] and the next thing I knew I had crashed into several boulders about 75 feet below the roadway,” Purcell said at the scene. From the roadway above, the truck hardly appeared damaged. Upon closer inspection, the right front wheel and axle were severed and the the entire undercarriage crushed. News Briefs: Bakersfield man

Miraculously Purcell suffered no major injuries though he did complain of some lower back pain. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash. Distracted driving caused this crash.

Airbags deployed and a fastened seat belt undoubtedly saved Purcell’s life. Visibly shaken, Purcell acknowledged he was lucky to be alive.

News Briefs: Bakersfield man
The 2017 Dodge Ram pickup came to a stop 75 feet below the Highway 198 roadway in a boulder field on a steep hillside.                                             

Bear intoxicated eating fermented fruit

If you’ve been driving in any major national park and there’s a traffic jam with people with cameras exiting their vehicles, chances are its a “Bear Jam.” But when it happens on a blind curve on Highway 198 in Three Rivers there could be serious injuries not the least of which to the bear.

A similar scene unfolded on Thursday, August 6, in the afternoon near Eggers Drive by Three Rivers School. By the time Deputy Kyle Stark arrived several spectators were attempting to entice an adolescent black bear to come closer. Reportedly, some people actually petted the bear as if it was some domestic house pet. News Briefs: Bakersfield man

Once Deputy Stark intervened and dispersed the gathering crowd, the shaky but non-aggressive little bruin was led away to a shady area adjacent to Three Rivers School. Deputy Stark gently herded the disoriented bear into the shade while awaiting the arrival of Fish and Wildlife officers.

After Daniel Torres, Fish and Wildlife game warden, arrived the mostly docile and wobbly bear was herded into a kennel provided by a resident who lived nearby. The bear was taken to a Fish and Wildlife station just below Terminus Dam where he was examined by Evan King, wildlife biologist.

News Briefs: Bakersfield man
This dehydrated black bear may have been sick and intoxicated from eating too much rotting and fermented fruit.

King estimated the male bear to be a year and and a half old and after administering water the bear appeared to improve from his shaky, weakened condition.  It was reported that the bear might have been intoxicated from eating spoiled fermented plums and grapes in the vicinity of Cort Gallery.

Stephanie McNulty, a spokesperson from the Fresno Fish and Wildlife office reported that the bear will be reevaluated in the morning and if his condition continues to improve he will be released back into the wild. News Briefs: Bakersfield man

3RNews will continue to monitor this ongoing story and will  keep you posted. 

Back to the front page.

6 thoughts on “News Briefs: Bakersfield man survives wreck, bear taken into custody

  • August 7, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Sure is nice to see some care and concern about that dear creature. So often it seems they are discounted.

  • August 7, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Idiots…..”pet the bear” ????!!! You’ve got to be kidding me????
    Way to get a bear euthanized. NEVER pet or feed wildlife!!!!!
    Thought that was common knowledge…

  • August 7, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    On the Truck vs Boulder story, I doubt that happened on Monday, August 10 since today is only August 7.

    • August 7, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      Good catch Nikki. I take full responsibility for that one. It was Monday, August 3. I’m glad someone knows what day it is. JE

  • August 8, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    The incident reports with their subtle tones always make my day, from screaming lady being a coyote to the bear petting, i wanted to say thank you!

  • August 12, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    That bear is just a baby … poor thing … very glad they were able to capture and care for it without incident and EXTREMELY glad no one was bit, clawed or injured by it so it can be returned to the wild safely! It appears education on wildlife etiquette is still necessary.


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