At about 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, a Black Bear sow was hit and killed by a truck on I-64 in Rockbridge County. There were three cubs with her, and the trucker called the state police. The cubs climbed about 50-60 feet up a nearby tree.
A number of dedicated people stood watch over the cubs during the next 12 hours and ensured that help was on the way. State Troopers N.A. Combs and J.A. Paxton responded to the scene and checked on the cubs throughout the night and Sunday [Easter] morning. Several local bear hunters also responded to the scene to watch over the cubs and to organize a cherry picker to come and safely retrieve the cubs from the tree on the side of the interstate. BARC Electric sent a cherry picker on Easter morning, though the vehicle got stuck in the mud; Jimmy Southers of Auto Towing and Repair provided two wreckers to extract the cherry picker from the mud. The bear hunters attempted to pay both companies, but the drivers refused payment. DGIF Biologist Jaime Sajecki arrived at the scene and transported the cubs to the Wildlife Center.
Jaime estimates that the sow was about six to seven years old, and was in good condition prior to being hit.
Dr. Ernesto examined the three female cubs when they arrived at the Center and found them to be in good health. The cubs were weighed and ear-tagged, and joined "the cubs of 2020" in the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure:
#20-0468: Pink Tag: 2.88 kg
#20-0469: Green Tag: 2.57 kg
#20-0470: Red Tag: 2.70 kg