A Black Bear Killer in Castaway County Chapter 1

We showered quickly, grabbed a coffee and a stale donut from the kitchen and ran out to our vehicles in the driveway. I gave her a quick peck on the cheek, wishing it could have been a lot more, and got into my police package Tahoe, while Suzi got into her gold Rav4 and headed for the studio. I radioed State Police Dispatch to tell Polly I was on my way and that I would be there in about 20 minutes or so. After I exited the deep woods around my cabin and got onto Rt. 121 headed toward Daphine Crossroads, I turned on my blue lights but kept my speed down. There was no need to race to get to the scene: there were already Troopers there and most likely, my Chief Deputy, Berkley Smith was there as well. I used the lights to scare off moose and deer as much as anything, especially when rounding some of the sharp curves in the road on Rt 121 and Rt. 7 heading toward the scene. This time of the morning the biggest traffic threats were moose, bear and deer in the roads, and maybe an occasional porcupine.

While they were all hazards, moose could be downright problems. Moose have a propensity to charge lights. If you are driving down the road and run up on a moose, you should immediately turn off your headlights to avoid the moose charging your vehicle. A friend of mine once told me about this very thing happening to her and her sister one night. They rounded a corner and there in the road was a big bull moose. They remembered having been told by their father about moose and headlights, so they turned theirs off right away. As there was a nearly full moon that night, they were able to still see the moose quite well. It charged toward their vehicle, scaring them quite a bit. Just short of their bumper, he stopped, turned around and gave a kick of his back leg toward the vehicle as if flicking away a fly, then trotted back into the heavy forest along side the roadway. In the old west, moose often charged locomotive engines because of the large headlights on them. You really have to be careful on these back woods roads, especially running at higher speeds responding to a bad call.

As I turned north on Rt. 7, I could see the flashing red and blue lights at the Black Bear Truck Stop up ahead. I pulled into the lot and parked away from the crime scene on the south portion of the paved parking area. I told Dispatch that I was on the scene, grabbed a pair of latex gloves from the box I keep in the Tahoe, and exited my vehicle.

While I was walking toward the building I found the scene to be the usual chaotic mess. There was a State Trooper, a Game Warden, an Eagle Ridge Town Police officer, and a Bureau of Indian Affairs Police officer from the Indian reservation just across the county line, from Washington County. This was often the case with crime scenes in our community. Although there are few officers on each agency, there are quite a few police agencies in the area so we all provide back up on calls. This creates a miss-match of uniforms and policies, which can make for a confusing scene, but it provides great protection for each of us in the long run. That’s part of living in a smaller community and, generally, it makes all of us work together in a more cohesive way with less “turf battles”.

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