Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh Deer!

I perpetrated a hit and run last night.

I was driving home from a Body Shop party. I was about two hours away from home on a back two lane road, it was about 10pm. It's not uncommon to hear stories this time of year about people hitting deer but it had never happened to me, until last night.
I had been really keeping my eyes open for deer because it's hunting season and it drives them out of the woods. It sucks to drive anywhere at night this time of year.
The road had been pretty deserted with only a few cars here and there and as I was entering the little town of Havana I took my car off cruise to slow down for the speed limit through town. A car was coming toward me and then I saw the deer right at the side of the road. I estimated (correctly) that I would meet the deer and the car at the same time so I did the odds in my head on what would be the best course of action. It truly is amazing how many thoughts go through your head in a second or two.
I knew I could not swerve. I knew I couldn't brake in time, so I was wondering if it would better to let the deer hit my side or hit it straight on. I braked hard and it jumped right in front of my SUV. I am very thankful I was driving the Durango because if I'd been in the car, it would have came through the windshield for sure.
I slammed head on into the huge deer and it was a very jarring and emotional moment. The poor deer slid on it's side across the road away from the truck. I drove on and called Monkey who was just getting ready for work (3rd shifter). I was shaken and mostly worried that I had really damaged the truck and wouldn't be able to get home. I kept hearing a scraping sound from the tire and I knew something was wrong.
The car in the other lane passed me and I saw in my rear view mirror that it braked and slowed, I presume to make sure I didn't need help (thanks buddy).
I kept driving because I was only about two miles from a gas station in Havana and the road was dark and creepy. I pulled into the station and got out to look at the damage. The entire right side of the grill was forced in and the bumper was cracked and hanging down. I discovered the broken bumper was scraping against the tire so I pried it up so I could keep driving. Deer guts and fur clung to the smashed in grill. Sadness.
Monkey called into work and said he'd be late and set out to meet me half way just in case the car overheated or the tire blew or something crazy. When we met up at a gas station in Bloomington, he was able to take the grill completely out since it was just barely in place. He followed me home and everything was fine.

I have to call the mechanic and insurance agent today if I can. Can wait to hear the damage (to my bank account). Yeesh. I am very glad that my kids weren't in the car. Although I wasn't hurt, seeing that would have broken my daughter's heart. She is very emotional and empathetic (which is awesome). She refused to play with the star fish I brought her from Hawaii when she learned it was once alive. She tried to bring it back to life by putting it in the bathtub. I can't even imagine how traumatized she would be by seeing her mother slam into a beautiful deer and sending it's limp carcass flying across the road. Small favors.

So to all who live in deer infested areas, please drive carefully.


Julia said...

Oh God! I'm glad you're okay! Hitting an animal can be not just traumatic to the vehicle, but to the driver too. You did the right thing though. If you had swerved and gone into a ditch, you could have gotten ticketed. It sucks that the law would rather you kill an animal by hitting it straight on.

Stinkypaw said...

Sorry to read that, but happy that you didn't get hurt. That's the important thing.