DOUGLAS FLAT — Authorities say a woman and her 1-year-old daughter were killed when the car she was driving struck a black bear on Thanksgiving evening.
CHP reports Sarah Rohde was driving a Subaru Impreza on Highway 4 in Calaveras County Thursday around 6 p.m. when a black bear came in front of the vehicle's path.
The bear was struck and killed, but the impact of the bear killed the driver and her daughter, Ariana Harris.
Rohde's 4-year-old son, Julian Harris, was also in the car and suffered minor injuries. He was taken to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment and was discharged Thursday.
According to Rohde's mother, Tracie Weaver, Rohde had just spent the evening with her and her sister's family in Arnold and was heading back home to Copperopolis.
“A bear in Douglas Flat is not normal,” Weaver said, who tells FOX40 she is still in disbelief.
Weaver describes her daughter, a former Adventure Guide at Moaning Caverns as fearless and a nature lover.
Dajon Harris, Rhode's fiance, says his daughter Ariana was sweet and sassy, and his fiancee smart, fearless and kind with a great since of humor. The couple had been together for eight years, going to school together, working together and living together. Their next goal was to buy a house.
"I don’t know if my life will ever be the same," Dajon Harris said.
Rhode's fiance says Julian knows his mother and sister died, but doesn’t fully grasp what that means.
"I think everyday I’m going to thank whoever that he is here," Dajon Harris said.
"Thank you for all of your help," Julian said in response to the community's support.
Fitzgerald said alcohol and drugs are not believed to be a factor in the crash.