Park City driver hits, kills mountain lion on entryway

A road sign along S.R. 224 in Park City warns drivers of wildlife.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

A driver hit and killed a mountain lion on one of Park City’s entryways on Thursday, Dec. 13, an extraordinarily rare collision in the community involving one of the elusive predators.

The Park City Police Department received the report at 7:25 p.m. on an outbound lane on S.R. 224 close to the McPolin Farm. Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the mountain lion darted in front of a sport utility vehicle. The mountain lion died in the accident, Kirk said. The person in the vehicle was not injured and there was no damage, he said. Kirk said the driver saw the mountain lion running toward the vehicle just before the collision.

Another case involving a mountain lion was logged earlier that day. The police at 10:52 a.m. received a report from someone on Fairway Village Drive. The Police Department was told a mountain lion was seen an hour before the report. The person who contacted the Police Department indicated the mountain lion “took off” toward a hilly area after ice fell off a roof.

The Park City area is mountain lion habitat, but the animals are rarely seen. There have been reports, though, since the fall. There was a possible sighting in early October on Crestline Drive and, in September, a mountain lion was seen on Meadows Drive, close to the City Hall-owned open space in Round Valley.

Some of the other wildlife cases reported to the police last week included:

• a driver hitting a deer at or close to the intersection of S.R. 224 and Holiday Ranch Loop Road on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:07 p.m.
• an elk herd moving close to S.R. 224 in the vicinity of the Meadows Drive intersection on Friday, Dec. 14 at 8:14 p.m.
• a collision between a driver and an elk on S.R. 224 on Dec. 14 at 1:09 a.m. The police said the accident triggered the vehicle’s airbags. Nobody was injured, but debris from the vehicle was on the road, the police said.
• an apparent collision between a driver and an unspecified species of animal on Park Avenue on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 8:41 a.m. The animal survived the collision but the injuries were severe enough it needed to be put down, the police said.

The collision on Dec. 13 and the other cases last week continued a string of wildlife-related reports in Park City that has included sightings of deer, elk and moose. The Police Department usually responds to the reports to ensure the public and animals are safe. Officers sometimes caution motorists if an animal is on or close to a road. The officers also keep people away from wildlife if the animals are found in a populated area.

Kirk said drivers should be extra observant, especially at night.

“They come out of nowhere. It’s too bad,” he said.

The state Division of Wildlife Resources is sometimes requested to relocate an animal like a moose if it continues to be a problem and is determined to be a safety hazard.

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