Colorado family's SUV strikes bear, killing 3, injuring 4

Three persons were killed and four seriously injured when a family in an SUV struck a bear on a Colorado highway Friday morning.

The three who were killed were ejected from the vehicle after the crash, authorities told Fox 31 Denver.

The Garfield County Coroner's Office identified the three dead as 7-year-old Kimberly Hernandez, her 15-year-old sister Brizeyda Hernandez, and their 62-year-old grandfather Eugenio Hernandez Altimirano, Fox 4 Grand Junction reported.

Brizeyda died of her injuries at the hospital.

The children's 32-year-old mother, 36,-year-old father, 9-year-old brother and 62-year-old grandmother were all transported to area hospitals, the station reported.

The Colorado State Patrol said the family's Chevy SUV ran into the median and rolled over after hitting the bear, according to the station.

The family was from New Castle, a small town in Colorado about 100 miles from the border with Utah, the station reported.

None of the seven people in the car was believed to have been wearing a seat belt or sitting in a child safety seat at the time of the crash, the State Patrol said.

Drugs, alcohol, and the speed of the vehicle were not considered factors in the crash, the State Patrol said. The case is under investigation.

The highway’s eastbound lanes near exit 90 in Rifle were closed until around 10 a.m., the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.

The bear was killed in the cash. It weighed approximately 300 pounds, according to the paper.

"If you're driving, expect the possibility of wildlife," Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras told the paper. "One of the best parts of Colorado is the wildlife, but if you live in Colorado the best thing you can do is be aware."