Hudson teen Paul Pitney was driving a friend home after Bible study class Wednesday night at Hartville Church of Christ when a black blur darted out into the road in Marlboro Township.
‘‘It was running full speed. I didn't even have a chance to do anything,’’ Pitney, 17, said this morning while at football practice.
The Hudson High School senior said he was driving his friend, Hannah Allen, 17, a senior at Marlington High School, home after getting a bite to eat. The teens were traveling east on Beeson Street shortly before 10 p.m. when a large animal ran out from the side of the road in area dotted with farm fields.
‘‘I thought I saw a bear, but I didn't believe it,’’ Pitney said.
They got out of the car to see what they had hit, but couldn't find the animal.
‘‘It ran away before the police came and we couldn't find it,’’ Pitney said.
Neither of the teens were hurt in the collision that damaged the front end of the 2000 Pontiac Grand Am he was driving.
Officers from the Marlboro Township Police Department and the Ohio Highway Patrol responded to the call, said David Betz, a township police officer.
‘‘The call was that they hit something black,’’ Betz said.
Officers found the bear, estimated to weigh 250 pounds, about 50 yards from the scene of the accident, Betz said.
A patrol officer euthanized the injured bear at the scene, a spokesman for the Canton post of the Highway Patrol said.
Dan Kramer, wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife District 3, said he thought the dead bear was larger than one spotted two weeks ago in Hudson and Streetsboro backyards, which meant it could be a year older.
The 249-pound bear is the first one to die in a traffic mishap this year in District 3, which covers 19 counties in Northeast Ohio. The district averages one bear death a year in traffic accidents.
Ashtabula County has the most black bears in the district, Kramer said.
While plentiful in surrounding states, the North American black bear is considered endangered in Ohio.
The black bear population started to re-establish itself in Ohio about 10 years ago. The bears were originally wiped out because of unregulated hunting and habitat loss, Kramer said.
In 2008, there were confirmed sightings of 29 black bears in Ohio, according to the Division of Wildlife. But there are as many as 50 to 100 in the state, Kramer said.
‘‘We're tracking a number of bears right now, as we do every year,’’ Kramer said.
The dead bear was last sighted alive Tuesday night on Paris Avenue in Nimishillen Township. It ran in front of Pitney's car the next night, about 2 1/2 miles away, wildlife researcher Laurie Graber said Thursday afternoon at a news conference at the District 3 office in Coventry Township.
Marlboro police reported that they had received multiple calls from residents about a black bear in the area starting Tuesday.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or email@example.com.