Mom and Toddler Die on Thanksgiving After Hitting Bear on Rural Road

Sarah Rohde and her 19-month-old daughter, Ariana, died instantly at the scene.
Sarah Rohde and her 19-month-old daughter, Ariana, were killed Thursday. GoFundMe

A Northern California mother and her toddler daughter died on a dark rural road after slamming into a black bear while driving home from Thanksgiving dinner, authorities said.

Sarah Rohde, 27, and 19-month-old Ariana Harris, perished instantly after striking the animal when it walked onto Highway 4 in Calaveras County, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The bear also died. 

The young mother's 4-year-old son, Julian Harris, received minor injuries and was airlifted to the University of California Davis Medical Center, where he was treated and released. 

Rohde had spent the day with her mother and sister and was heading home to Copperopolis, a small town about 40 miles east of Stockton.

Rohde's mother, Tracie Weaver, described her daughter as fearless and a nature lover, KTXL-TV reported. 

She and her fiance, Dajon Harris, had been together eight years. His loss is two-fold.  

"It just seems like a freak accident and I don't know how to reconcile that in my head," Harris told the station. "I don't know if my life will ever be the same," he said, blinking back tears. 

Neither alcohol nor drugs is considered a factor in the crash, according to a collision report from the CHP. 

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family. 

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