An 18-year-old Seward high school student said Wednesday that a midday encounter with a black bear in the Kenai Peninsula town left him with a fractured and dislocated shoulder.
Kyle Hubbard said he was walking to his father's house sometime around 11:30 a.m. in the Forest Acres subdivision when a black bear "came out of the woods and basically ran me over and stepped all over me."
The Seward Police Department put Seward Middle School, Seward Elementary School and Seward High School on lockdown for less than an hour following what was initially reported as a bear mauling.
But Police Chief Tom Clemons said that, after investigating, police had heard a slightly different story of the encounter.
"Wasn't a bear attack, wasn't a mauling," Clemons said. "A run-in. The kid went backwards and screwed up his shoulder."
Clemons said that Hubbard told a police lieutenant that "he walked up, startled the bear — the bear, I think, stood up, and that startled this 18-year-old and he fell backwards."
Hubbard's sister, Wendy Brewi, offered one theory for the conflicting accounts.
"He got knocked out, and I'd be confused too," Brewi said. "Police told me that because he was disoriented and said two different things, they just said, 'OK, there was no attack.' … He said he was walking and saw a big black blob. He said it knocked him over and knocked him out."
Hubbard said he saw the bear clearly after he woke up, before it ran off.
Hubbard said he finished walking to his dad's house in pain before calling an ambulance. He was treated at Providence Seward Medical Center for shoulder injuries. He also said he was being examined for a possible concussion.
The bear also took his lunch, he said. A Hot Pocket.
Seward has had several high-profile run-ins with bears in recent weeks — last week, a 55-year-old man was injured in a mauling at the Seward airport. The week before, three bears were shot as they raided chicken coops outside the community.