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Bear struck, killed near Duluth

A black bear was struck, killed on Sugarloaf Parkway on Thursday morning.

A black bear was struck, killed on Sugarloaf Parkway on Thursday morning.

DULUTH -- The first recorded evidence of a black bear nosing around Gwinnett County this year ended tragically for one young animal.

A motorist in a white pickup truck struck a bear about 7:30 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Sugarloaf Parkway and Old Peachtree Road, in front of Sugarloaf Country Club, police said. Eastbound lanes were jammed for a short period as the carcass was removed.

Animal control officials said the male bear weighed 250 pounds and was 3 or 4 years old. It was the first bear reported in Gwinnett this year, said Lt. Mary Lou Respess, animal shelter manager.

"We generally do get one or two each year, but it's been awhile," Respess said.

Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said the animal died shortly after impact, before officers arrived. The vehicle incurred minimal damages, he said.

"The driver did not want a report and drove the vehicle from the scene," Smith said.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources released the bear to animal control, which planned to cremate the carcass, Respess said.

While rare, local vehicle crashes involving black bears do happen.

A teacher driving to work in March 2006 whacked another bear estimated at 250 pounds on Callie Still Road in Lawrenceville. That animal limped off, leaving the driver rattled and her Honda Civic heavily damaged.

Three months later, a smaller bear was captured nosing around trash bins outside JCPenney at Gwinnett Place Mall and released in the north Georgia mountains, its natural habitat. Authorities recorded at least two other sightings that spring.

Biologists told the Daily Post that year the chances of bears attacking humans are very low. Most bears in the suburbs are younger males scavenging bird feeders and garbage bins for food, officials said.