Before you view the pictures at the end, know that what you see may be a bit disturbing to animal lovers. Also, know what you see could not have been avoided. I am serious.
(Welcome back to those who just had to see the pictures. I wasn’t kidding that the pictures may be disturbing.)
As you can see, I hit a deer with the car. Didn’t see it in time to stop and I did try to stop but in the same split second I saw the deer, I hit it. It happened that fast.
There were several factors that contributed to the accident.
- First, it was dark.
- Second, it was misting/raining.
- Third, I was traveling about the 55 MPH speed limit.
- Fourth, the area it chose to cross at has low hills and forested areas where it came from with a river at where it was going.
- Fifth, apparently it didn’t see me coming.
After I had pulled over to the side of the road, I backed up to where the deer was. There was a lot of traffic on the four lane Highway 30 between Scappoose, Oregon and Portland, Oregon. By the time I was able to drag it off to the side of the road by its hind leg, three other vehicles ran over it. For the deer’s sake, at that point, it didn’t matter because it had been killed instantly by my car. I must admit that I was glad that other drivers changed into the inside lane even though I had parked on a wide shoulder of the road with my hazard lights flashing. Unfortunately, the deer lay in the inside lane where most everyone had pulled into to give room to the ‘disabled car’ along the side of the road. Several cars stopped, some of which were perhaps the ones who had run over the deer. One woman did stop in front of where I was parked and walked back to inspect what was in the road. She said, “Is that what I hit? I’m glad it wasn’t a person”. Then she got in her pickup and drove off.
I too am extremely glad I had not hit a person. Hitting an animal is bad enough. I am grateful for those who care when an animal is hurt or killed. I was grateful for the one or two that recognized it was my car that had hit the deer and asked if I was alright or if there was anything they could do.
Through it all, I saw the hand of God in all of it. Know first of all that I am not advocating that Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and all things in it, deer included, is for the accidental deaths of animals. He allows it to happen. It’s part of the price paid because of fast highways and the mixing of animals and man.
My personal application is this:
Over the last few weeks, I had been preaching a series entitled Adversities And Trials. I was talking about “momentary light afflictions” we all go through. I was going to use the suffering I was going through with a head cold and nagging tickle/cough as a personal illustration of an affliction I was going through. Then I got an e-mail form a friend who had an acquaintance who had been in a coma for 21 days from a severe head injury. Suddenly, my afflictions and trials seemed so small and trivial compared to hers. I have kept the congregation updated on the young mans condition over the last three weeks, (last word, he has had surgeries, out of his coma and is “killing brownies”, his favorite food).
His situation and my incident with the deer has caused me to draw a few CONCLUSIONS.
This 1976 Nova had been in “mothballs” for a few weeks as it needed some electrical work done and we didn’t seem to have the money to do it till the first of this week. I had been shorted a few days work, due to a vacation/day off mix up some months earlier so one of my pay checks was bigger than usual. We were able to get it in and out of the shop but the very day it was being worked on, our other car, a 1992 Ford Taurus tried my patience. About 4:30 AM, on my way to work, all of a sudden, I heard a loud rumbling coming from the left, front tire area. I had just applied the brakes and the noise I heard sounded like a semi truck down shifting. I just knew I had thrown a brake shoe but I still had to get to work. I was just getting ready to turn off of Highway 30, on to a curvy, narrow, hilly two lane road named Cornelius Pass. The pass, though about six miles long is known for many accidents, some being fatalities. I prayed a multi-legged prayer. Safety in general. More specifically, that the ‘thing’ making all the noise would not cause the brakes to lock up and throw me and the car into the canyon that the pass road followed. My prayers were answered and I finished the last 15 miles of my 29 mile trip to work. It had been dark going to work and it was dark going home the same 29 miles, the front wheel constantly making a metal to metal scraping sound as I drove. I did note that the noise was less when I turned left but unfortunately, my route home was not all lefts. All that would have done for me was to get me dizzy by making left turn square circles!
Again, the trip home had its potential hazards. First, the pass was five miles down those same curvy roads I had driven to work. If the brakes locked up, I wouldn’t be thrown into the canyon on my right but into the path of traffic in the uphill lane. Because of no shoulder, they had nowhere to pull off to, even if they had seen a potential accident about to happen. Again, my prayers were answered and I made it safely to the shop that was going to work on it. (Turns out, the calipers were loose and for $92, that and a few other minor things were done. The repairs were less than the extra money I had received so I felt good about that.)
That is what led me to drive the Nova the next day. (The work on the signal switch in the steering column had taken most of the ‘extra’ money but fortunately, it was on payday so we had it.)
The blessings I count in all of this are these:
- As I already mentioned, the repair work came when we had the money.
- We had two cars to drive; when one was in the shop, I drove the other.
- I was the one driving at the time of the accident, not my wife or daughter. I freaked enough for them though I never screamed like a girl………I don’t think!
- It was the, almost all metal, 1976 Nova and not the almost all plastic 1992 Taurus.
- The deer was walking and not in mid-bound as they do when running. Otherwise, perhaps it could have come through the windshield.
- No one else was involved; no other accidents because of mine.
- There was only one deer (as far as I knew) instead of as many as six I had seen in a different location just the night before.
- That it wasn’t an Elk as I have (slowly) driven through a herd of Elk, in the dark, on Cornelius Pass.
- The damage to the car wasn’t any worse than it was. The car burns oil anyhow and when I stopped, I was sure the impact had driven the grill and radiator into the fan.
- The Lord still hears and answers prayer as He always has and always will!
On the last one, you may question, why did God allow this to happen? I don’t know. I just know that I always start a trip, even if it is just the one mile to Church, with a prayer for safety. I had prayed for safety. I had safety. I walked away, literally drove away without a scratch. I could have been in as bad of shape as the deer but I wasn’t. I find it ironic that just about two weeks before my accident, I was following a girl down the curvy Pass when suddenly, she slammed on her brakes. Suddenly, I saw a deer leap from in front of her, over a metal gate of a logging road and disappear. The girls car had slid into the opposing lane of traffic because, judging by the tire marks, only her left brake(s) was/were working. She rolled down her window and made some kind of gesture. I think it was good but I wasn’t certain. At the bottom of the Pass, I managed to flag her down as she pulled on to Highway 30. That’s when I found out she was a young girl, 18-25. I asked her if she was alright, (she was) and had she hit the deer, she had not. Missed it by inches).
Also, the week between her near deer incident, I had a deer cross the road, relatively close enough that if I had been about three seconds earlier, we would have made contact. I specifically told the Lord how much I enjoyed the nature He had created but “please don’t let me hit on of them”. That day and for the next week and a half, I didn’t. AM I blaming Him for me hitting the one I did? Certainly not. Does that mean God doesn’t answer prayer. No He always answers. The deer or I or both of us were at the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time. It happened. Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean I am exempt from trials and adversities. Mine pale in comparison to what others have and are going through. I have no room to whine and moan and ask why things are always happening to me. Things, worse, sometimes, are happening to those around us and we never even know about it.
So, how has your week been? Start counting the blessings you do have instead of focusing on your own adversities and trials. These too will pass!
II Corinthians 4:17 “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,”