He was on Highway 221 near Right Fork Elementary when he met a vehicle coming down the road.
“Because of the glare of the headlights, I couldn’t see it,” said Sizemore, owner of Sizemore Pineville Hardware and Furniture Co. “I hit it at about full speed.”
Without having any time to react, Sizemore had crashed head-on into an elk that was in the road.
The collision caused his truck to spin around and go up the highway backwards. It went over an embankment and ended up on its side.
“It didn’t hurt me seriously, but it shook me up,” said Sizemore .
Sizemore said that he just happened to be driving his work truck, but usually drives a small car. If he had been in the car, he said the accident would have been much worse.
While they’re considered to be one of nature’s most impressive animals and natural to eastern Kentucky, elk are becoming a nuisance to many in Bell County because of their size and frequency on roadways, according to citizens and officials.
According to an article called “The Elk’s Return to Kentucky” by Carol L. Spence on the University of Kentucky’s website, “encroaching human settlements and over-hunting” removed the elk from this region.
In 1998, state agencies transported 1,551 elk from the west more than 1,600 miles to finally settle in 16 Eastern Kentucky counties, according to the article. Because of an increase in population, the elk now roam freely across the county.
Bell County Sheriff Bennett said he and his deputies have handled many wrecks that have occurred in the county because of elk. He said Highway 221 appears to be the most dangerous spot for elk crossing the road.
“Without question they are a hazard to the traveling public,” said Bennett.
In fact, just Tuesday morning, a man was involved in a wreck that totaled his car, according to Bennett. Thankfully, he wasn’t injured.
He said other wrecks have nearly escaped tragedy.
“It’s just a matter of time before we have a death or serious injury,” said Bruce Bennett, regarding the elk’s interference with traffic.
Sizemore said that he didn’t know how to solve the problem. He said fencing in the elk could possibly work, but he’s heard they can come through fences. He said people would just have to remain vigilante on the road.
Sizemore blamed the government for letting the elk population get out of control.
“The state has created a nuisance,” said Sizemore. “They need to accept responsibility... (The elk) were brought in. This may have been their natural habit, don’t I think it is now. There are too many people for them to be comfortable.”
Stephen Woodward is a Staff Writer for the Daily News. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.