When Universal Pictures released the horror-comedy film “Cocaine Bear” last month, it was just the latest twist in a long, strange tale that began on Sept. 11, 1985, when a man in Gucci loafers with a duffel bag of cocaine strapped to his body fell from the sky and landed with a thud in the driveway of a home in Knoxville, Tennessee.
His name was Andrew Thornton. A former Kentucky police officer turned drug smuggler, he was returning from a coke run to Colombia when he suspected the authorities had spotted his plane. Trying to escape with some of his stash, Thornton died on impact after his parachute failed. But it turned out he wasn’t the only fatality.
Minutes before his fatal plunge, Thornton dropped other parcels of cocaine over northwest Georgia. And it was there, tragically, that a black bear living in the Chattahoochee Forest found it and ate some of it—and promptly died as well, of cardiac arrest.