COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – A pregnant woman who was fleeing a bear when she was struck by a slow-moving car said she would honor the euthanized animal by giving her baby the middle name "Bear."
Ashley Swendsen, 26, said she thought the bear followed her more out of curiosity than malice because it kept a distance of about 10 feet Thursday morning on a hiking trail in northwestern Colorado Springs.
As she ran, she thought, "If it was going to hurt me, it already would have."
Swendsen managed to scramble up an embankment and was crossing the street when she was hit by a slow-moving car. Although she was not seriously injured, she was taken to a hospital as a precaution because she was pregnant.
Police said they're looking for the driver of the car that hit Swendsen. The driver stopped and spoke to her but left before police arrived.
Swendsen said she first spotted the bear as it was coming out of a creek.
"I didn't know what to do, so I just kept walking," she said. "I wasn't going to start sprinting."
But she started running when the bear moved toward her.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife said the chase happened in an area where bears are common. Division spokesman Michael Seraphin said the brown-colored North American black bear was tranquilized and later euthanized after Swendsen identified it.
Swendsen said she was sad to hear about the bear's death.
"Yeah, because the bear spared me, and then it had to die," she said.
Swendsen, who is about five months pregnant, said she doesn't know the sex of her baby but will give it the middle name "Bear" whether it's a boy or a girl.