Archived Story

Deer dancing on the roof

Published 6:59pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For nine years, I have been proud of what I thought was a pretty impeccable driving record.
I’ve thankfully never been in an accident or even a fender bender (no, Dad — accidentally bumping your car in the driveway when I was 16 doesn’t count. It didn’t even leave a mark!).
I’ve also never gotten a speeding ticket or even pulled over.
And until two Sundays ago, I’d never had a run-in with an animal of any kind.
But as I came to realize, sometimes the universe is totally out of your control. Things conspire against you, and you end up with a loose panel underneath your car, a dent on the roof, a cracked windshield and scratches on your hood.
Let me explain.
I was driving back to Alex City from a weekend in Foley with some close friends. As those of you who may have made the drive, I-65 is a long and tedious stretch from Mobile to Montgomery.
I took a break in Montgomery to have dinner with my family and then continued the last leg of my drive back home.
The moon was bright, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Growing up in Alabama, I’m used to seeing deer and other creatures roaming around county roads at night, so, of course, I had my eye out.
I counted 14 deer just on the bit 63 from Eclectic to the Alexander City limits.
Once I saw the nondescript sign, I thought, “Whew, I made it.”
As I approached Lamberth Road, I saw five more deer – two on the right side of the road and three on the left.
I slowed and then came to a halt. I was afraid I’d hit one and didn’t want to continue moving forward until they had scattered, just as the other 14 I’d seen before then had done.
And then another car came over the rise at full speed.
I was parallel with group of deer on the opposite side of the road when one deer finally decided to bolt – directly toward my door.
I screamed what I can only assume was a high-pitched, 1940s horror film scream and heard the thud as the deer landed on the roof of my car.
It scrambled around, desperately trying to find footing before scooting down my windshield and hood as if it were a playground slide and high-tailing it into the woods.
The rest of the deer scattered, and I sat dazed before finally letting off the brakes and driving about 100 feet before finding somewhere to pull over.
The kind driver behind me, who witnessed the whole thing, pulled off with me and helped to inspect the damage.
“You OK?” he asked. “I’ve had that happen to me before – always shakes me up.”
I thanked him and assured him I was fine, got back in my car and drove the rest of the way home without a hitch.
I appreciate the good folks at my insurance company and body shop for helping me through the process of filing a claim and getting the repairs set up. The deer did about $1,000 worth of damage, and I’m lucky it didn’t do more.
After all this, there’s no way I can claim never to have had an accident now, but I can say one thing — I still haven’t hit a deer.
I just had one decide to use my vehicle as its temporary playground.
Spears is general manger for The Outlook.