CENTER OSSIPEE, N.H. — Seven people were hurt — two critically — in a chain-reaction crash that started when a car hit a bear in Center Ossipee, authorities said.
The 225-pound male black bear was killed.
According to police, the incident occurred just before 11 p.m. Sunday on Route 16 when a northbound car hit the bear and a Lincoln Town Car headed in the other direction swerved to avoid it. The Lincoln then collided with a Land Rover headed north.
James Iannuzzi, 44, of Boston, who was driving the Lincoln, and 44-year-old passenger Brian Berglund of Winthrop, Mass., were hospitalized in critical condition. A third passenger in that car, 34-year-old Jonathan Harker of Boston, was taken to Memorial Hospital in North Conway, where he was listed in good condition Monday.
A spokeswoman for Maine Medical Center in Portland said Monday that Berglund is now in serious condition. Iannuzzi’s status was unclear Monday.
Four people — including three children — in the Land Rover also were hurt.
Ossipee police Sgt. Robert King, Jr. said the accident is under investigation but that speed and alcohol apparently weren’t factors.
No drivers have been cited.
In New Hampshire, there are about 47 bear-vehicle collisions a year, many of them in the late summer and fall as the animals increase their travel for food in anticipation of winter hibernation, according to Andrew Timmins, bear project leader for the state Department of Fish and Game.
“They start traveling more because of feeding activity, as they prepare to hibernate. Their main focus is to eat and put on fat at this time of year, which puts them across roads at a higher rate,” said Timmins.