Black Bear Sighting Interrupts Small Town For Hours - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Black Bear Sighting Interrupts Small Town For Hours

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by Adam Ghassemi

MONTEREY, Tenn. – The population of Monterey, Tennessee is just shy of 3,000, but as things were winding down on Friday Police Chief Bill Randolph learned something in town was catching many people by surprise.

"Lady had called and said she came outside and there was an unwanted visitor there and it was a bear standing in her front yard," Chief Randolph said Tuesday.

The calls kept coming. A black bear showed up and ran from one end of town to the other.

"Each neighborhood, each road it would go on, you'd get every neighbor calling saying the bear is here, and it's here and just moving in each direction and we were following it," he said.

When it ran past the Dairy Queen and into a neighborhood, police training had no choice but to make way for instinct as officers tried to stay on both sides and keep it away from children.

At one point, officials were worried the bear would get into the town's public swimming pool.

"I think that's a situation that you never get any training for is a bear being in the middle of the town," Randolph said.

The whole idea still has people talking and snickering. "Sort of exciting," city office manager Ella Dishman joked. "I wanted it to come by here so I could see it."

After a few hours, with the help of the TWRA, officers were able to coax the bear back into the woods, but not before a handful of people got close enough to snag photo evidence of a visitor it'll take them a long time to forget.

"I think they were more excited than they were scared of the bear. They were pointing. People were getting pictures of it and following it around to where it was going," Randolph said.

Many residents said they've never seen a bear in town before and worry this means the area's black bear population is growing.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
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