Driver crashes into elk on Hwy 101: 'I couldn't imagine if they were all out'
CANNON BEACH, Ore. – A driver crashed into a herd of elk overnight Wednesday while the animals were standing in the darkness on Highway 101 along the Oregon Coast.
The driver, KATU photojournalist Corry Young, and the passenger, reporter Nate Bynum, were not injured in the crash.
Two elk were killed in the collision.
“BOOM! And then the glass started crashing into us and airbags go off,” Young said. “I couldn't imagine if they were all out at once. I don't even want to think about it.”
A similar crash happened on Highway 26 near North Plains just over a week ago. A pickup truck driver plowed into a herd of elk, killing twelve.
Wildlife crashes were happening often near Bend, so when ODOT rebuilt Highway 97 in 2012 they created two wildlife underpasses allowing deer and other animals to safely cross the roadway.
Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) says each year drivers hit more than 1,000 deer and elk through October and November – the two months with the state’s highest wildlife collisions.
“If you see an animal near the roadway, try to reduce your speed and be aware that other animals could be right behind it because often they're going to be crossing in groups,” the department said in a statement.