Jasper resident Sylvie McKenzie thought she was doing the right thing when she slowed down on the highway to let two bears cross in front of her car last Thursday.
She wasn't expecting what came next.
“The female decided to cross and the male stopped. And the next thing I knew, it was bad news. I was between him and the female,” recalled McKenzie to the Edmonton Journal.
The next thing she knew, the male grizzly charged her car, pouncing at full force and full speed, reports CBC News.
"I could see his teeth, the drool on his face. I tried to speed up and put my foot on the gas pedal to get away as fast as I could," McKenzie told CBC, adding her car rocked violently from the blow.
McKenzie was just a few kilometres outside of Jasper, on Highway 16, when the attack occurred.
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She told The Fitzhugh, a Jasper newspaper, she heard the bear's claws scrape against the metal before she peeled away, her foot heavy on the gas pedal.
She stopped about a kilometre away but could see the bears still coming after her in the distance.
“I was hoping he would just leave me alone, but he was like ‘no, I’m in heat, I’m gonna get you,’” she told The Fitzhugh.
“I can’t believe [it]—I never thought something like that would happen. I wasn’t outside of my car, taking pictures or anything,” she recalled, shaking her head. “I guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
McKenzie told the Journal the dents left in the car's side panels are worth about $5,500 in damage, but insurance will cover the repairs.
According to the Journal, it was the second time that morning the bear went after a car. Parks Canada confirmed a similar incident about an hour earlier.
Bear activity in the Jasper area has been high this year, with grizzlies causing headaches for motorists and bluff charging cars on Pyramid Lake Road.
A grizzly got a mouth full of pepper spray late last month, after it tried to attack mountain biker and bit into a can of the deterrent in the man's backpack.
Steve Malcolm, human wildlife conflict specialist with Jasper National Park, said at the time bears in the area are feeling food-stressed after the winter hibernation.
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