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Bear shrugs off collision that leaves cars crumpled

Two motorists were surveying an estimated $4,500 in damage to their cars after an encounter with a Florida black bear.

The bruin just ambled into the woods, apparently no worse for wear.

Julie Cornelius was driving on State Road 85 near the Eglin gate Monday when she struck the bear, a male of 175 to 200 pounds. Her car was then rear-ended by one driven by Virginia Douglas, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

"At first I thought "That's the biggest dog I've ever seen,' " Cornelius said. "It was in the median when I saw it, but he was moving fast. He was going top speed."

The bear, knocked to the shoulder, got on its feet and went on its way. Eglin's environmental branch was able to track its movements because it has worn a radio-transmitter collar since being captured in 1998.

"It moved right on off with good motion and good speed," said Eglin spokeswoman Janet Tucker. "It didn't look like any damage was done."

But troopers estimated damage at $500 to Cornelius' car and $4,000 to Douglas' car.

_ Compiled from wire reports

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