Deer caught in headlights on I-15 totals car

Stock photo, St. George News

IRON COUNTY — Utah visitors from California on their way home from Salt Lake City had an unexpected delay Monday morning when their rental car collided with a doe that ran in front of them on Interstate 15 near Parowan.

The Utah Highway Patrol was dispatched to southbound milepost 74 at 8:11 a.m., UHP Trooper Adam Gibbs said, after a Honda Civic smashed into a doe on the interstate. Though it was reported to St. George News that a lane was closed, Gibbs said there were no road closures as a result of the collision.

“The car had stopped in the lane of travel,” he said, explaining the accident occurred on the inside lane of I-15 just south of the Parowan exchange. “When I got there, I just pushed (the disabled car) out of the way with my car.”

There were no reported injuries to the 34-year-old driver of the Honda Civic or his friend whom he was traveling with, Gibbs said, but the Civic’s front end was most likely totalled and the deer did not make it.

Gibbs said the accident was an unavoidable situation and the driver did the best thing he could have done by not swerving, letting the collision occur.

“You don’t swerve at all,” he said. “You just take it.”

Swerving to avoid an animal that runs in front of you while driving is more dangerous than just taking the brunt of the impact most times, Gibbs said. The last incident he went to where the driver swerved to avoid an elk in the road required transport to the hospital by Life Flight, he said.

“He ended up going off the road, rolling four times and ended up having to be lifeflighted,” Gibbs said. While hitting a deer or elk in the road may damage a vehicle significantly, he said, the alternative causes damage to those inside of the car.

Hits may not always occur from the front either, Gibbs said, stating that he was in a deer collision once where the deer ran right into the side of his vehicle.

There are a large number of deer who graze in the fields in the Summit area and along other parts of the stretch of valley along I-15, Gibbs said, and there is no way of knowing where or when one of them may jump in front of a driver. 

“Going slower is not going to help,” Gibbs said. “If they are going to hit a deer, they are going to hit a deer.”

Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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