A Georgia teacher visiting Tennessee woke up one morning to find a bear had locked itself inside her parked car.
Mary Jane Yarbrough, an art teacher at Warner Robins High School in Houston County, Ga., said she is in Gatlinburg to take a class for a project she is planning for her students next year.
Yarbrough said her car had been left parked on an incline overnight and a bear had apparently managed to open a door and climb inside before the door slammed shut behind the animal.
“It was 6 in the morning and I just keep hearing honking happening,” Yarbrough told WMAZ-TV. “I open the door. My dog is going crazy and I see that it’s my car that is honking and shaking and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, someone is in there. Someone is stuck in my car.'”
Yarbrough called police when she discovered the occupant of her car was actually a black bear. Officers were able to help the bear get out of the vehicle, but not before it caused significant damage.
“He ripped the dash, my airbag, the radio is out, he went through my glove box,” Yarbrough said.
She said there was a pack of gum and a protein bar inside the vehicle, but the bear didn’t touch them.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency recommends the doors of parked vehicles be kept locked at all times in the Gatlinburg area.
“Folks, if you visit Gatlinburg please make sure to lock your vehicle doors and never leave food or anything containing the odor of food inside,” the agency said in a Facebook post.