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Deer Hit by Motorist Lands in Front Seat
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November 17, 2004 08:20 PM EST
PALMYRA, Ill. - A deer smashes into a car and thrashes its way into the front seat where it fires up both the radio and wipers. It may sound like a tall tale some guy cooked up to explain to his wife the smashed up car parked out front, but it is also absolutely true. Just ask Jim Trump.
The 58-year-old high school teacher was driving home from a card game Nov. 10 when he saw a group of deer standing in the roadway near Palmyra, roughly 30 miles southwest of Springfield.
"I couldn't go any direction to get away, so I just locked my arms down, hit the brakes and went straight ahead," said Trump, a physical education teacher and coach at Greenfield High School.
Trump's Ford Escort was going about 55 mph on Illinois 111 when it struck the ten-point buck, he said Wednesday afternoon. The huge deer hit the car's front windshield and rolled onto its roof before crashing through a rear window.
"It started thrashing around and headed toward the front seat," Trump said.
That's when he skidded to a stop and jumped out, leaving the keys in the ignition.
"It had a real nice rack on it," Trump said. "When I slammed the door, it turned its head around and the antlers knocked out the side window."
The deer, which authorities said weighed about 280 pounds, forced its way into the front seat, causing heavy damage to the car's interior, Trump said.
"It turned the windshield wipers on and had the radio going," Trump said.
Three police officers were needed to pull the animal out of the car. It had at least one broken leg and was later killed.
"I've been a police officer since I was 17 years old, with military experience and everything, and it was the first time I've seen a deer in the vehicle," said Macoupin County sheriff's deputy Paul Bouldin.
These types of accidents are most common between mid-October and mid-December, during the deer mating season. Illinois State Police said they often occur on roadways near wooded areas and fields.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said there were 25,660 vehicle accidents involving deer in 2003, up from 23,647 reported in 2002.
Trump said his insurance company deemed the car totaled.
"I really hated to lose that car," he said. "I was getting 35 miles-per-gallon."