An off-duty firefighter died Saturday night in a bizarre accident on an Oregon highway after hitting a bear on his motorcycle, Oregon State Police say.
The collision threw Rhett Larsen, 39, into oncoming traffic, where he was hit and killed by an SUV, reported The Oregonian.
After striking Larsen, the SUV went off the road and rolled over, injuring driver Margaret Sweo, 57, according to KOIN. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital, but no information was released on her condition.
The crash, which took place about 7 p.m. Saturday on Highway 26 near Warm Springs, north of Bend, also killed the bear.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Larsen joined the Bend Fire Department in 2002 as a firefighter/paramedic and earned promotion to fire engineer in 2016, reported KATU.
“He was a creative soul with a compassionate heart, an intelligent and well-loved team player. Rhett lived life to the fullest, and he loved his work as a firefighter/paramedic,” officials told the station.
A post on Facebook by Bend Firefighters Local 227 paid tribute to Larsen as “a loyal friend, respected mentor, and loving father,” and said his loss will be felt deeply by his family, community and colleagues.