Illinois woman faces charges in Yellowstone bear encounter

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An Illinois woman faces criminal charges after she was captured on video being bluff charged by a grizzly bear while she was taking photos in Yellowstone National Park.

The woman was among a small group of tourists who spotted the female grizzly and her two cubs on May 15 in the Roaring Mountain area of the park, The Billings Gazette reported.

Witnesses told investigators that when they saw the bears coming closer, they returned to their vehicles and warned the woman to get back but she did not until after the sow grizzly charged her.

Park regulations require visitors to stay at least 300 feet away from bears and wolves.

Video of the encounter was widely shared on social media. On May 25, the park posted a photo of the woman along with a plea for tips that could help identify her.

Investigators got a warrant to search the suspect’s social media posts after receiving a tip from someone who had seen a posting of the video with the suspect’s name tagged.

The Carol Stream, Illinois woman faces charges of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife and violating closures and use limits.

An initial court appearance has been set for Aug. 26. The woman has not yet entered a plea.

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The Associated Press

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