Buck flew through windshield and out the rear window.

New Ulm family survives a bizarre collision with a buck

The Blake family knew the stretch of road was notorious for deer.

They had just talked about it while heading from New Ulm to Mankato for a pizza Saturday night when Sue Blake spotted four legs illuminated in the two-lane highway.

"I said, 'Deer!' and I think in that split second my husband turned his head. Thank God. Honestly," Sue Blake, 49, recounted Tuesday from Hennepin County Medical Center where her husband, Chris Blake, 49, underwent reconstructive surgery. "And I saw the cow from 'Twister.' That's what I saw coming straight at us. I saw it impact the windshield, and I felt the rush of air."

The accident -- in which a young buck was clipped by an oncoming car before it flew through the windshield of the Blakes' Pontiac Vibe, struck them and their 17-year-old daughter, Olivia, in the backseat before crashing through the rear window -- has left authorities shaking their heads. They're flabbergasted, they said, not only at how rare it is for a deer to fly completely through a vehicle, but also at how lucky the family was to survive: Chris Blake suffered the worst injuries, including multiple broken facial bones. Sue Blake has only minor scratches to her face, while Olivia's face is full of cuts from broken glass, along with a fractured cheekbone. She's not expected to need reconstructive surgery like her father's.

"I've been working for the patrol 20 years now, and I don't think I've ever seen one go through the windshield, go all the way back through and come out the back window," said Trooper Mark Frahning, who responded to and investigated the crash, one of about six to 10 deer-vehicle crashes per night his unit investigates this time of year. "They were most definitely lucky."


Sue Blake said she was the only one who remained conscious after the buck crashed through the windshield. She thought Chris was directing the car to the shoulder, but she quickly realized he was unconscious. The car rolled down a shallow embankment as she struggled to stop it. It eventually stopped on its own after several hundred feet. Olivia, who blacked out, woke up in the arms of a stranger, who was telling her not to open her eyes. The multiple shards of glass embedded in her face had put her vision at risk.

The oncoming driver who clipped the deer stopped instantly, as did about half-dozen other drivers, said Sue Blake, who noted that many of them were wearing hunter's blaze orange.

"I'm thinking 'Really? You missed this one.'" Sue Blake said, adding that all of them assisted her family until help arrived. They were covered in blood, some theirs, some belonging to the buck, which was found in a nearby ditch, its back legs torn entirely off at the hip. Photos taken later showed the interior of the car covered in blood from dashboard to ceiling.

Comment: Also on MSNBC here

1 comment:

  1. NYTimes: Driver Beware: Deer Collisions Peak in Mating Season

    Kathee and I saw a large buck near our house on the way to work yesterday. Crossed about 200' in front of us across the road.


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