5 cars hit 400-pound bear on I-5, Weed teen seriously injured

Skye Kinkade
Siskiyou Daily News

A 400-pound bear wreaked havoc on Interstate 5 Thursday evening near Weed when it was struck by five vehicles.

Most seriously injured in the accident was a 16-year-old Weed teenager who was ejected from his pickup after hitting the bear just north of the Weed rest stop. He sustained major injuries and was transported to UC Davis.

This file photo shows a shield on the uniform of a California Highway Patrol officer at the state Capitol in Sacramento.

According to a press release from the Yreka Area California Highway Patrol, the bear was crossing I-5’s southbound lanes when it was first struck by 74-year-old David Athens of Mount Shasta, driving a 1999 Dodge pickup.

The bear was then hit by a 17-year-old from Terrebunne, Ore., driving a 1995 Ford pickup, and a 2020 Toyota sedan, driven by Joshin Bruguera, age 49 of San Francisco.

Mark Tillemans, 46 of Big Pine, who was driving a 2019 Toyota Tacoma, and the Weed teenager, driving a 1996 GMC pickup, struck the bear next and both lost control of their vehicles and overturned, the CHP said.

The Weed teen, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected and sustained major injuries to his head and leg, according to the CHP report. He, a passenger and a passenger in Tillemans’ truck were transported to Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta.

Additional injuries sustained by the other drivers and passengers were all minor, the CHP said.

The bear did not survive, according to CHP.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and has lived in Mount Shasta and Weed her entire life.