Black bear jumps from tree in Bedford Heights, takes off running

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio - By nightfall Tuesday calm had returned to the Rockside Road area of Bedford Heights but a black bear's "standoff" with police and wildlife officials earlier in the day created quite the buzz around northeast Ohio.

The ordeal started Monday night when it was first spotted -- but the chase picked up again at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, when the bear was spotted in a tree on Rockside Road near the Rockside Park Tower Apartments.

Emergency officials blocked off the area, and told residents to stay away. They then tried to get the bear down to take it out of the suburban setting -- but the bear wanted to stay up in the tree. At about 11:45, crews sprayed the bear with water from a fire truck hose, but the bear didn't budge (click on the video above to watch raw video from that part of the ordeal).

Twice our news crew at the scene were told to get back, as the bear's unpredictable behavior could mean a safety issue for the media covering the event.

"He doesn't want to be here, he doesn't want to hurt anybody," said Wildlife Research Technician Laura Graber, "but obviously if somebody is in his way he could run them over to get out."

During this time, someone created a fake account on the social networking site Twitter called " @TheBedfordBear " and started sending out light-hearted posts about the incident.

"Look, if you guys want to spray stuff at me let's go the honey route," the person behind the account posted at 1:08 p.m.

The account even directed its tweets toward our own reporter, Paul Kiska.

" you looked a little agitated during your live report. Try being up in a tree BUDDY," posted the person behind the account

Then, at about 2:35 p.m., after crews tried to set up a trap to catch the bear, it made its way to the ground and took off running. Crews chased it, but could not catch it.

At about the same time, thunderstorms moved through the area, making the search that much more difficult -- and putting the odds of escape in the bear's favor.

Police had said earlier they did not plan to tranquilize the bear, which was estimated at about 5-feet tall and 130 to 150 pounds, because it can cover three miles in 10 minutes. Just before noon, crews did attempt to spray the bear with water to try to get it to come down, but it stayed in the tree (click on the video above to watch raw video from that part of the ordeal).

The black bear was first seen in the area of Columbus Road between Perkins Road and Kimberly Drive around 7:45 p.m Monday. Police said the bear moved into a wooded area and they decided to leave it alone.

Earlier, the Bedford Police Department said a black bear was last seen by a driver in the area of Northfield and Solon Roads around 6 p.m. Officers said the bear was spotted earlier in the day near the cities of Oakwood and Walton Hills and appeared to be traveling north.

Wildlife officials said Tuesday night it might be the same bear that was spotted over the weekend in the area of Streetsboro. "It could potentially be the same bear that just followed up the interstate corridor or TInker's Creek area and moved up into here and unfortunately got itself into an area that wasn't the safest," said Graber.

Police are asking any residents who spot the bear to leave it alone, do not make an attempt to approach it and contact authorities immediately.

Keep checking for more information.

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