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Lynn Wade, Halloween Deerslayer

Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011, at 9:44 PM

My car, after an unfortunate encounter with a deer.
So there I was, driving north on U.S. 71 on Halloween night. Midnight was fast approaching, and I was soon to get a Halloween scare that I'll remember for quite a while.

My solitary drive had really just begun. As I cruised out from under the overpass at Compton Junction my Halloween fright appeared and my heart skipped a beat.

Nope. Not a ghost, nor werewolf nor even zombie -- it was a big deer, and it seemed to materialize just a few feet from the front of my car. An instant later it disappeared and a felt massive pressure against my seat belt and heard a surprisingly not loud thump.

"Where'd the deer go?" I thought, and why was it that I suddenly couldn't see anything?

Slowly, or so it seemed, I realized what was left of the hood of my car was blocking the view.

"OK, self. You've hit a deer and you're in the middle of the road. Get out of the road." Funny how the thoughts and actions seemed to take such a long moment; really only seconds -- if that long -- were involved.

The car still had enough momentum to reach the shoulder, so I did that.

I think I was a little in shock, because I suddenly wasn't sure exactly where the crash had taken place -- at the time I only knew that I had just hit a deer while traveling 70 mph on U.S. 71 and I wasn't hurt. At all. I said a quick prayer of thanks.

But I needed help, so of course I called 911. Was I nearer Nevada or Horton? Had I passed Horton? I just didn't know. The dispatcher was calm, patient, and tried to help me figure it out -- with very little success, I might add. But finally she was fairly certain I was at the very least somewhere between Nevada and Rich Hill and sent help on the way. I was impressed with her professionalism and genuine desire to get me whatever help I needed.

Another call to AAA secured a tow truck, and by then Trooper Jim Wilde had arrived, as well as someone from the Vernon County Sheriff's Office, who told me exactly where I was so the tow truck could quickly and easily find us. (Also, when I looked behind my vehicle to the south, the Compton Junction exit was clearly visible, on the southbound side of the road. Wish I'd looked around a little more, just a little sooner, for the sake of the dispatcher.)

The trooper, too, was patient and explained the report and so forth in plain terms -- it's clear he's had plenty of experience dealing with people who are still having trouble processing the information they need because they've just been in a traffic crash.

It took about another 30 minutes for my thoughts to clear enough to remember all of the details. The next morning, a view of the damage to the vehicle by the light of day underscored how lucky I was to be virtually uninjured. I credit God's hand and my seat belt with that.

The deer, on the other hand, didn't make it.

So here's the moral to this story: Drivers, please watch carefully for deer. This time of year they're everywhere; but more importantly, ALWAYS wear your seat belt, because you never know when the unexpected will happen, leaving you no time to react and no recourse but to hit whatever's in front of you.

And here's a message for the deer as well.

Dear Bambi: Please do not jump in front of vehicles, especially at night when drivers are unlikely to see you until it's too late. You could be killed!

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Ugh! That stinks :(

-- Posted by localear on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 12:53 PM

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