By Tracy Lehr
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KEYT/CNN) - In California this week, a woman was driving when a 300 pound bear ran into the middle of the road.
Denise Dutra will never forget it.
"And I said I've hit a bear and I slammed my breaks and the bags just went off we immediately stopped," she said.
She was driving with her mother on Highway 154.
"I saw it. It was a bear it was like he was running up across the road and he jumped right in front of me when I hit it," said Denise.
He was 300 pounds and fully grown. Denise was changing lanes to let another car pass her when it happened.
"It looked like he had hit the windshield on my mom's side so it kind of hit up and the windshield was broken," said Denise.
Denise was driving her 81-year-old mother's brand new RAV-4, headed to play some slots at Chumash Casino.
"It saved us. If we were any lower, I think the bear would have gone through the windshield," said Denise.
Wildlife experts say full grown bears are usually looking for water due to the drought.
"This is their range, there's a lot of forest land in this area so they do have potential to go back and forth across the highways, typical they're going to be looking for food and water," said James Dostal with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"You have trouble be careful and watch out. The highway patrol said the best thing I did was not to swerve because you can get into more trouble doing that," said Denise.
Denise and her mother are now planning another less eventful night out.