It was a Friday night, in November. It was dark, foggy and spitting rain. Interstate 35. I had just got done meeting Jacob's grandparents so Jacob could spend the weekend in Des Moines with the family.
I was cruising right along. Listening to my audiobook, anxious to get back to Mankato for a hockey game. I was driving in the right hand lane when suddenly, there was a deer. It looked like it was just walking across the road, but because of the fog, it appeared before me quickly.
I managed to hit my breaks and brace myself for impact. Is that what you're suppose to do? Brace yourself? Tense up? Anyway, that's what I did. I hit the deer full on. The impact caused my airbag to go off, which I remember only briefly brushing against my face. The car skidded and jerked to a stop but I had no idea where my car was - on the road? Near the ditch? I didn't think I had gone in the ditch.
Everything was dark and silent. I struggled to remember where my flashers were, finally grabbing my phone to light up the dash. I found the button but when I hit it, nothing happened. The entire car was dead. I had no lights, no nothing.
It was about then that I noticed all the lights in my rearview mirror. The lights of the fast oncoming cars, headed right at me. Headed right at me and unable to see me. Hitting the deer was no big deal. Sitting in a dead car with vehicles approaching from behind, unable to see me, terrifying. I thought for sure I was going to get hit. I was waiting for the impact.
I was literally talking out loud to myself. I was trying to call 911 on my phone but it wasn't working. (Side note: has anyone else had this problem trying to call 911 on a cell phone???) I kept asking myself if I should get out of the car or stay put. I was buckling and unbuckling my seat beat. I was telling myself a car was going to hit me. I was questioning why no cars seemed to be stopping to help me.
I opened the driver door, as much as I could from the impact anyway, when I finally saw a gentleman coming to me. He asked if I was alright, if anyone was else was in the car and told me I need to get out of the car right away. He ran me to the middle of the ditch. I was shaking. I couldn't catch my breath. I had thought for sure I was going to get hit by another car and couldn't even imagine what might have happened then.
Once I was out and away from the car, I could see where my car was. In the left hand lane. I was not near the side of the road. I was near the center of the interstate. I knew then it was a miracle that I wasn't hit from behind.
The two gentlemen started to direct traffic into the one lane the best they could with flashlights, while we waiting for highway patrol to come. I was still shaking. Walking in small paces around in the ditch, trying to slow my breathing. I noticed the hood of my car was peeled back and laying on my windshield. That was why I couldn't see where in the road I was, not because I didn't have my lights on.
Apparently, the accident had been reported as a three car accident and soon after highway patrol arrived, a firetruck pulled up. There was another on the way along with two ambulances. Luckily, they sent those back. The gentleman that came to my car later told me he was driving behind me and saw me hit the deer. He was able to swerve, driving in the ditch, to avoid hitting me, but clipped the deer. Once his truck stopped, he came back to help me.
I was taken to the firetruck for some questions and to get out of the rain. I declined any medical treatment. The firefighter told me that I had hit the deer in the area they called the Bermuda Triangle, because there are so many accidents that happen along this stretch of highway.
After a while, another firefighter came back to the truck to inform me that I had hit a 16 point deer. Well, at least I had something to be proud of.
I had called my parents as soon as I was out of the car. I told them roughly where I was and they said they would come to get me. And here's the thing. They had been in Rochester, my dad was getting a small procedure done. It was scheduled to take place Friday morning but had been delayed, causing my parents to remain in Rochester long after they wanted to. So when I called at 6pm to let them know I had hit a deer, they were only an hour away.
Finally, they got the road cleaned up of all the pieces of my car I had lost. They had loaded the deer up to take away (I later heard in the patrol car that someone was given permission to take it... I should have thought of that), and the tow truck came and loaded up my car. The officer was going to drop me off at the Welcome Center, where my parents were waiting for me. We drove to the tow place to clean out my car.
It was only then that I really got a good look at the damage. And it looked bad. We spent the next 20 minutes or so, trying to clean out my car by flashlight, unable to open the back door, all while I was on the phone filing my claim with Progressive and making sure they were covering this tow.
It was around 9pm by the time we got home. I decided I wasn't leaving the house and instead put on my PJs, took some Tylenol, got the heating pad and watched a movie. My weekend plans to relax, do nothing and worry about nothing were pretty much gone. While I did get some relaxing in, I'm also dealing and waiting on the insurance claim, waiting to hear that my car is indeed totaled, waiting for them to tell me they have no money to give me after paying the car off, and starting the annoying search for another car. I am mourning the fact that I haven't even had that car for a full year...
However. I am thankful. I am incredibly blessed. I am so so so thankful Jacob was not in the car with me. Every time I think about hitting the deer, I thank God Jacob was not there. I thank God that I was not hit by another car. I thank God that I was not hurt. I thank God that no one was hurt. I thank God my parents were close by. I thank God for watching over me. Because he was obviously doing just that. God is good.
|My first view of the car|
|This is where my car ended up|
|Coming off the tow truck|
|My airbag went off|
|My poor car...|