Wednesday, July 9, 2008
District chief’s motorcycle crash a bear escape

By Kim Ring TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


CHARLTON— In the split second before his 1994 Harley-Davidson collided with it, Worcester District Fire Chief Frank D. DiLiddo III knew the animal in front of him was a bear — and not the one on fire prevention posters he’s so familiar with.

“It wasn’t Smokey (Bear),” he said, after leaving UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus in Worcester last night, where he was treated for “some pretty bad road rash.”

Police said Chief DiLiddo was headed south on Route 31 at 4:44 p.m. when the accident happened.

The chief said he was traveling about 35 to 40 mph when he rounded a slight curve and hit the bear. The collision dumped his motorcycle and he slid into the northbound lane while the bear lay motionless in the street.

“I’m just lucky no one was coming the other way,” he said. After a while the bear got up, went over the guardrail and lay down again, he said. It was thought to be dead but eventually wandered off.

The chief’s most serious injury was to his right hand, which he said was “unusable” and would require more treatment. He suffered no broken bones and was taken by the Charlton Fire Department ambulance to the hospital.

Chief DiLiddo’s Harley sustained heavy damage. “It might be totaled,” he said. “We’ll see. I’m just glad I had a legal helmet on.”

The helmet was damaged when his head hit the ground, he said.

Charlton police Officer William J. Bedard said Environmental Police were called to the area because of concerns about the bear and how it might behave if it were in pain from an injury.

Chief DiLiddo, whose father was a game warden, is glad the bear survived. He estimated it weighed about 150 pounds, “average size for Central Massachusetts.”

Officer Bedard said last night the bear had not been seen again.

http://www.telegram.com/article/2008...55/1008/NEWS02