Man Passes Away After Crashing Harley-Davidson Into Bear on Highway

When you're driving on the highway, you typically expect to face obstacles like flat tires or fallen tree limbs. But encountering a bear?

On Saturday night, Thomas Kovalik, a Connecticut resident, was riding his 1995 Harley-Davidson on Route 222 in Harwinton when he collided with a bear. The impact threw Kovalik off his motorcycle. Connecticut State Police discovered the 65-year-old Plymouth resident on the road and transported him to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, where he was pronounced dead. The specifics of his injuries haven't been released, and the police are investigating the accident, according to NBC Connecticut.

Black bears are fairly common in Connecticut, particularly in the northwestern region, including Harwinton. In 2019, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recorded 7,300 bear sightings in 150 of the state's 169 towns. While bears seldom show aggression towards humans, they can attack pets, livestock, and beehives. As bear populations increase, so do reports of human-bear encounters. DEEP advises against approaching or feeding bears to prevent such incidents.

On Reddit, users expressed their shock over Kovalik's unfortunate accident. One commenter mentioned the frequent bear sightings in Connecticut this year, noting that their parents see bears in their yard regularly. Others wondered about the bear's condition.

"Did the bear survive?" one asked.

"How is the bear doing?" another inquired.

Many were struck by the unusual nature of the accident.

"Bless this man, but you know what? I ride, & I would love to go out this way. No bs," one commented.

"I'm a fisherman and always wanted to go out like Quint in Jaws," another said.

Though these encounters may seem rare, they happen more often than expected. Similar incidents have occurred, such as in Florida in March 2021 and in Massachusetts in November 2013. In the Florida incident, the bear also died. Not all such accidents result in death. Just last month, a 50-year-old male motorcyclist and his 58-year-old female passenger struck a bear on State Road 59 in Jefferson County, Florida, leading to serious injuries, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.