FESTUS, Mo. – A bear was struck and killed by a car not far from a recent sighting Tuesday. Festus police confirmed that a black bear was struck and killed on Interstate-55 north. Someone called police at around 9 p.m. explaining that a bear was on the side of the interstate just before exit 175. The location where the bear got struck is about a half-mile from the bear sighting in Festus Tuesday morning.

The Missouri Department of Conservation believes that the bear killed along the interstate and the bear spotted Tuesday are the same animal. They say the bear spotted Tuesday morning and the one along the highway were about the same size and both had reddish tinted fur. The bear’s body is being taken to the MDC’s Wildlife Health Veterinary Lab in Columbia for a full evaluation.

FOX 2 spoke with a family who saw the large bear going through trash cans in a neighborhood off Hillcrest Road near the American Legion. Josh Johnson took video, which quickly went viral on social media.

Festus police spent the day working with the Missouri Department of Conservation trying to find the bear. They were telling people in the area to secure their trash bins and to put their trash cans out the day of, instead of night before pickup.

Johnson told FOX 2 that his wife got him out of bed around 6:00 a.m., saying there was a bear outside. As you can imagine, they were startled by its appearance and size.

“It was pretty big,” Johnson shared. “It was pretty alarming. I’ve got small kids and I had to take them up to the bus stop just for precaution. I put all the small animals and equipment inside because it’s a bear. It’s not a little stuffed animal.” 

Experts say to never approach bears, and if you see one to call law enforcement and the MDC.