'I Literally Thought I Was Going To Die': Frightening Night For Friends Who Hit Bear On Highway

Two friends from central Minnesota are on the mend after hitting a bear on a highway, Jeff Wagner reports (1:45). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 26, 2021

Video Transcript

- Two friends from central Minnesota are on the mend after hitting a bear on a highway. Jeff Wagner has more on how a night with friends turned into a frightening ordeal.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: My friend Tyler and I, we were going to go hang [INAUDIBLE].

JEFF WAGNER: Cynthia Thompson was looking forward to a Friday night with friends when plans got derailed.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: I remember being hit. I remember being whipped around the car. I was terrified.

I didn't think that I was going to be OK. I literally thought that I was going to die.

JEFF WAGNER: She and her friend Tyler were driving on highway 25, headed to Brainerd. But on the way, they hit a bear in the dark of the night.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: It came out of nowhere. We didn't even have time to stop. We hit it full on at 70 miles per hour. With that impact, it literally felt like we hit a brick wall.

JEFF WAGNER: The car then rolled into a ditch, hitting trees along the way.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: I was able to follow my seat belt, unbuckle myself. And then I laid underneath Tyler because Tyler had a lot of broken glass underneath him. I laid underneath Tyler, unbuckled him, and let him land on me.

JEFF WAGNER: Cynthia and Tyler were able to crawl out of the back window and flag down a passing driver for help. Cynthia went to the hospital in an ambulance with Tyler by her side. Responding law enforcement asked her mom if Cynthia wanted to keep the dead bear. She said no.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: I didn't get to see the bear personally. I didn't want to see the bear. I wanted nothing to do with the bear because it was my car that got totaled. I just bought that car two months ago, too. And I just made my second car payment to it.

JEFF WAGNER: It's a crash that could have been much worse. But it's still hard to believe.

CYNTHIA THOMPSON: He thought that we hit another car. I thought that we hit a deer. But we were both wrong.

JEFF WAGNER: Jeff Wagner, WCCO 4 News.

- Wow, Tyler is sore from the crash. Cynthia has a minor concussion, a sprained ankle and is badly bruised.