Motorcycle rider airlifted to Seattle hospital after colliding with bear

QUILCENE — A motorcycle rider from Tahuya was listed in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after colliding with a bear on U.S. Highway 101 west of Mount Walker.

Joseph M. Blanks, 68, was riding his 1993 Harley-Davidson Electric Glide southbound on U.S. Highway 101 in vicinity of Mount Walker about 2:15 p.m. Saturday, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A bear was crossing traffic from the southbound right shoulder when it was struck by the motorcycle, which came to rest in the southbound lane, the State Patrol said.

Blanks was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center on Saturday and listed in satisfactory condition on Monday, a hospital spokesperson said.

He was wearing an approved helmet. No drugs or alcohol were involved, the State Patrol said.

The motorcycle sustained reportable damage.

State Trooper Ben Freeman, who was on scene, said the black bear was a smaller female that probably had not separated from its mother for very long and died on impact.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at brian.gawley@peninsulanews.us.

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