Authorities in Humboldt County say a sheriff’s deputy was answering a call about a drug overdose when a bear jumped, or fell, onto his patrol car.
The falling bear smashed the hood and windshield after gravity brought it crashing down from a steep embankment above.
The collision with the bear caused the patrol car to crash, hitting the bottom of the embankment, rolling onto its side and bursting into flames, the deputy says.
The deputy was able to escape without being injured, according to The Guardian.
Fire destroyed the car, which was gutted from flames that destroyed about a half an acre of land, which had to be extinguished by the Hoopa Fire Department.
The bear was reportedly also not visibly injured.
“Don’t worry, the bear also fled the scene,” the California Department of Transportation joked in a statement.
It’s not clear if dash cam video still exists or if all the evidence contained on the dash camera was also destroyed in the fire, but some are questioning whether the story even happened.
The California Department of Transportation issued a statement in a post on its Facebook page:
CAUTION FALLING BEAR! A Humboldt County Sherriff’s patrol vehicle was struck by a falling bear while traveling north on Highway 96 last week. The vehicle caught fire after striking an embankment and the deputy escaped the vehicle without serious injury. Don’t worry, the bear also fled the scene.
Travelers are reminded to stay alert while exploring the beautiful highways and nature of District 1. Bears, elk and deer are just some of the critters sharing our coastal home. (Photos courtesy of the Hoopa Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services)
People on Facebook joked about the incident.
Some questioned whether or not the deputy’s version of events really even happened.
“How can he bare to tell that story?” Dianna Russell Hayenga asked in the comments.
“He bearely escaped that fire.” Brad Ramsey joked.
Others made more serious remarks.
“You believed him when he told you that? I have this bridge I want to sell,” Sharon Moreland wrote rhetorically.
“Falling bears? If it’s raining bears, deputy, you need to lay off the seized good,” a poster named ‘Tree Roots’ wrote.
Others mocked the deputy’s tale.
“This story seems very far fetched hahaha,” Bryan Dobrrowski wrote.
“Is there dash cam video of this? This just sounds almost unbelievable,” Jessica Rodgers commented.
One comment was more optimistic.
“What’re you all gonna say when dash cam video proves it WAS a falling bear?” Scooter Harris asked.
Robert Hansen pointed out any video is probably “just a puddle of melted plastic now.”
But we’ll keep you updated if any evidence of bears raining from the skies of Humboldt County, California, emerges.