It was bound to happen.
You write enough articles about the deer problem in Avon Lake, you know…deer colliding with residents’ vehicles, eating well-tended gardens, getting hit by patrol cars and destroying the Metro Park, and eventually you become part of the story.
And so it happened.
Two Sundays ago I was driving westbound on Electric Boulevard into a fading sun, minding my own business. I was coming back from Giant Eagle so that the guy I left in the kitchen could finish cooking for me (side note: I don’t cook, he offered, who am I to say no?). The road ahead was clear.
I wasn’t speeding, talking on my phone, texting, putting on mascara or any of that nonsense.
Mostly because I retired my spiffy old Sebring convertible and replaced it with a spiffier electric-blue Audi TT convertible that is so small, even I can see over it.
The TT is a stick shift, so I need both hands available (and both feet for that matter) when driving. Paying attention with two hands and two eyes is kind of imperative. Which is why when I heard a “thump-thump,” I knew I hadn’t hit anything with the car. Still, it was a pretty solid “thump-thump."
I gave a quick look in the rear view expecting to see maybe a box that had blown under the car, but what I saw was a medium-sized deer floundering in the road behind me, and a white car pulled over on the other side of Electric.
I then did what most people would do and said those magic words: “&%!#$*!”
Not just because I felt bad for the deer (I did, it was pathetic, but it eventually got up and hobbled into the woods), but because I knew a car that small wasn't going to escape a collision unscathed.
What I wasn’t expecting when I got out to check the damage, was a scolding from the woman in the white car.
“You didn’t slow down!," she yelled. “I flashed my lights at you! Now it’s going to DIE.”
Like I hit it on purpose. I don't even eat meat.
Note: When one is driving into sun glare, it’s kind of hard to notice another driver flashing one's beams. The deer coming out of the woods didn’t see the flashing beams either because IT RAN INTO ME.
Ok, it actually ran into the car. The back of the car specifically, cracking the car’s right tail light.
I drove the two streets back home thankful the consequences weren’t worse. I’ve had at least a dozen near misses in the past two years and had I hit this deer (a deer that clearly needs Safety Town) head on in a pint-sized car, I might not be here to write about getting yelled at on Electric Boulevard.
Maybe it was luck, maybe it was timing. Of course, had I been going a little faster (I was doing a max of 25, because there are, ahem, a lot of deer out at sunset) the Audi-charging deer might have avoided me altogether.
Or worse yet I could have ended up as an Internet sensation like the skateboard-charging deer (yes, this is that video, attached.)
But I didn't hit it, and there you have it. I called it in to the police, notifying them of the collision, and am now part of the deer-strike statistics.
So with rutting season around the corner, and no clear solution to the deer problem that may or may not exist in Avon Lake, I’m here to tell you what you already know: Keep it slow, stay alert, keep your eyes peeled and make sure you’re paying attention on Avon Lake roads.
Not that it did me any good. Now someone let the deer know to slow down and look both ways before crossing.