A Vermont man was killed late Tuesday night in a car crash on Route 2 in Bolton, after he struck a moose lumbering across the road, Vermont State Police said. Investigators said after striking the approximately 800-pound animal, the driver veered off the road and collided with a telephone pole.
Brandon Preedom, 22, of Waterbury became the nineteenth person to die in Vermont after crashing into a moose in the past 20 years, according to data from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Preedom's passenger, 17-year-old Kourtney Cota of Starksboro, suffered a head injury but survived, State Police said.
White roses were placed at the scene of the crash Wednesday.
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"We haven't really had, in Bolton, a lot of deaths, but we've had a lot of accidents with moose," said Chief Mike Gervia of the Bolton Fire Department, noting that the stretch between Richmond and Waterbury is known to be a busy place for wildlife crossings.
Mark Scott, a wildlife biologist and the wildlife director of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said this week is the peak of the moose mating season. Males are particularly active now, Scott said, as they roam in search of females.
"My best advice to folks is be aware," Scott told necn. "When you see a 'moose crossing' sign, this time of year, I'd ease off the gas pedal a little bit and have your foot near the brake."
Scott said crashes between moose and motor vehicles or trains have actually declined over the past decade, thanks in large part to population control through issuing hunting permits. He estimated the population of moose in the state at 2,200 or 2,300.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said while moose do cross the road randomly, the following stretches of road are among the most frequently crossed by moose:
- Rt.105 from Island Pond to Bloomfield
- Rt. 114 from East Burke to Canaan
- Rt. 2 from Lunenberg to East St. Johnsbury
- Interstate 91 at Sheffield Heights
- Interstate 89 from Bolton to Montpelier
- Rt. 12 from Worcester to Elmore
- Rt. 118 near Belvidere Corners and the Rt. 109 intersection
Scott said drivers should be most alert for the huge animals in the very early morning and at dusk through the evening, when their dark fur can make them harder to spot. He strongly suggested drivers reduce their speed around "moose crossing" signs, especially at this time of year.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said there were 65 collisions between motor vehicles or trains and moose in 2014, with no fatalities from that year listed in department records.