MISSOULA, Montana (Reuters) - A man wearing a bushy, military-style camouflage suit in an apparent attempt to impersonate the mythical creature Bigfoot has died after being struck on a Montana highway by two cars, police said on Tuesday.
Randy Lee Tenley, 44, was dressed in a “ghillie” — an outfit favored by military snipers and game hunters — and standing in the middle of southbound lanes on U.S. Highway 93 near Kalispell on Sunday when he was struck twice in quick succession, Montana Highway Patrol spokesman Sergeant Steve Lavin said.
“From what I understand, at least one of his friends said that he was trying to induce a sasquatch sighting by using the suit along the highway,” Lavin said. “This is a first for me after 20 years on the highway patrol. It’s strange.”
Tenley was first hit by a car driven by a 15-year-old girl (15-year-olds are allowed to drive in Montana with a learner’s permit). A second car driven by a 17-year-old girl struck him moments later when he was already down on the roadway, Lavin said. Police said they do not know which impact killed him.
Friends of Tenley told Montana Highway Patrol trooper Jim Schneider that the man had attempted a similar hoax before, but never along the highway, police said.
Bigfoot, or sasquatch, is the name given to an ape-like creature whose existence has never been proven. Still, some people believe the creature lives in forest areas in North America, particularly the Pacific Northwest.
The Kalispell Army-Navy supply store sells the same kind of ghillie suit that police say Tenley was wearing.
Manager Dennis Petersen, who did not recall selling one to Tenley, said the shaggy $100 suits are often bought by boys who use them in paintball games. “I don’t usually sell them to well-grown adults,” he said.
Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Cynthia Johnston and Ciro Scotti