Sheriff Chris Mathes confirmed the crash occurred and said his deputy received a “bump on the head” and was treated by Carter County EMS at the scene after the 9 p.m. crash. Mathes said Lt. Forrest Sharpe was responding on routine traffic — no blue lights or sirens — to assist Bluff City police officers looking for a suspect vehicle.
As he neared the Sullivan County line on Highway 19-E, Sharpe came upon the bear and was unable to avoid running over it. Mathes said the cruiser’s undercarriage was damaged.
The sheriff said he isn’t sure if the bear was hit by another vehicle or shot.