Driver hits moose

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Mark Rhodes, right, and Miles Benker, both with Idaho Fish and Game, assist in transporting an injured moose to a trailer Tuesday after it was hit at the intersection of Best Avenue and Eighth Street in Coeur d'Alene.

COEUR d'ALENE - A driver was shaken and a bull moose put down after a collision between the two on Best Avenue Tuesday morning.

Ray Theander was driving westbound on Best Avenue when he struck a 1-year-old moose near Eighth Street shortly before 11 a.m.

"He came out of nowhere," an emotional Theander said after the accident, which crumpled the hood and front windshield of his 1997 Hyundai. "I never expected to see a moose on the corner of Eighth Street and Best Avenue."

Theander said he was traveling 25 miles per hour after he left his work at Motion Auto Supply about one block away, and didn't see the animal until it covered his windshield.

"I couldn't see anything," he said. "It was all black."

Nobody else was involved in the accident.

Witnesses said the estimated 700-pound yearling moose laid down in the street afterward, then wandered to the front yard of Verl Albert's home on the 800 block of Best Avenue.

"It was pretty messed up, seeing a hurt animal," said Albert, who was watching television at home with friend Tyler Haagensen when the moose laid down outside his front window. "It looked pretty bad."

The moose moved to the side of the house after first responder sirens spooked it, Albert and Haagensen said. It sat there until Idaho Fish and Game tranquilized it to assess its injuries, which consisted of internal injuries and a broken front leg and required it be put down, said Jim Hayden, IDFG regional wildlife manager.

IDFG doesn't have an estimate on the moose population in North Idaho, officials said, but moose and human encounters have become more common as subdivisions encroach farther into wildlife's habitat. IDFG responds to "several" moose accidents per year, according to Hayden.

Tuesday's accident was in the middle of town, however.

Meat from the animal can't be harvested since it was drugged. Theander, who was heading to Post Falls for work purposes, said he was sorry that the animal couldn't be saved.

"It's pretty upsetting," he said, calling moose "beautiful" animals. "I don't know what to say. It was an accident."

Ray Theander surveys the damage to his car after hitting a moose Tuesday on Best Avenue at Eighth Street in Coeur d'Alene.

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