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Bear Trapped in North Carolina Family’s Car Punches Through Windshield to Escape

A North Carolina family woke up last Thursday morning to a momma bear busting through their car’s windshield at their home in Asheville, N.C. The family believes the bear was stuck in the car for over six hours through the night. 

Ashley McGowin, 47, let her dogs outside around 6:30 a.m., when she noticed the car’s hazards blinking. “They [my dogs] started barking as if something was out in the yard,” McGowin told WLOS.  

When she came back outside with her husband, she realized that her dogs were reacting to a large black bear trapped inside their car. The couple noticed the bear just in time for it to punch a hole through the front windshield and escape. McGowin was able to capture a few moments of the bear’s escape on her phone. 

The bear then ran into a nearby treeline, where her cubs were waiting for her. Once the bears were out of sight, McGowin and her family inspected the car and found it completely destroyed on the inside. A neighbor heard the car horn honking around midnight, leading the family to believe the bear was trapped for over six hours. 

Photos of McGowin’s vehicle after the incident. Courtesy of WLOS.

“Bears are in our yard frequently, but they stay to themselves.,” McGowin told WLOS. “It was very distressing for me to see the mama bear in distress and suffering inside my car. It seemed like she was happy to be united with her cubs, and they just wandered off.”

The damage done to the car is deemed a total loss by the family’s insurance company. If that’s not enough, McGowin’s son, Seth McGowin, also had his school assignments destroyed by the bear.

“The bear, sadly, peed on the book I was reading at school,” Seth told WLOS. “And ate my homework.”  

Photo of McGowin’s vehicle showing where the incident occured. Courtesy of WLOS.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission advises keeping a safe distance during bear sightings for the sake of people and animals. According to the state organization’s website, “Bears live in many North Carolina counties, and they are not usually dangerous unless humans feed or provoke them.” 

Fortunately, the mother bear and her cubs ran off together unharmed and will not be pursued as a threat to humans. 

Photo of McGowin’s vehicle after the incident. Courtesy of WLOS.

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