12/9/12

Deer season and our 1st accident with a critter...

First night of Hanukkah...

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Last night - right in the middle of celebrating the 1st night of Hanukkah - we got a phone call from Zack who was up in Des Moines and had just finished singing at a special alumni event with the Madrigal Singers.

We've had some close calls with deer the past 10 years living here in Iowa, but never hit one.  Zack's phone call was that he had just hit a deer head on while driving south on highway 65/69 on his way home.  He did the correct thing and didn't try to swerve around it and nobody in his car was injured.  I told him, if the car could drive, take it to the southridge mall parking lot.  He was able to only make it a few hundred yards and pulled off in the Earl May Nursery entrance.  He called the police for an accident report.   Luckily, one of the other cars with Madrigal Singers had been behind him and pulled over to help.  Kim Roberts - the director - and 4 of the singers stayed with him until I got up there.

I called State Farm's 24 hour claim line and got hooked up with a representative in Arizona to begin the claim.  He kept asking about how one hits a deer and why he didn't just drive around it.  I finally had to tell him that it was a normal occurrence here in Iowa and my son had done the correct thing by not trying to swerve on a 4 lane highway.  I'm not sure if he was curious or clueless.   I would think that State Farm would train their staff on all matters such as an accident involving a deer, but by the end of the conversation I had informed him that this was not an abnormal accident.  He wanted names of who was in the car with him, who was in the car behind him and all witnesses.  Witnesses?  Dude - this was a deer he hit!!!  This all took about 20 minutes on the phone and I was then connected to the tow truck company to make arrangements.  Finally, I drove the 15 minutes to see the damage for myself.

I sent the carload that had been waiting with Zack and keeping him warm in their car home and talked to the police officer.  She got a kick out of my report on the State Farm agent.  She gave us the paperwork and then drove over to the other side of the road to move the deer carcass.

The car didn't look too bad, but an awful lot of liquids were leaking out of it.  The deer had hit low on the front end and then gone under the car (where most of the damage occurred).  The car's automatic transmission was not shifting right, and it would not go into reverse.  Here's what it looked like...

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And another one...

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The airbags did not deploy.  My guess is because the hit was low and immediately went under the car.  Had they deployed, the repair damages would be very high.  I'm worried about the transmission and what went on underneath the car.  Fingers crossed it can all be returned to a safe functioning vehicle.

The tow truck arrived and he put it on the flat bed, strapped it in and off he went to our choice of repair center.  I had him take it over to the one in Clive next to the Honda Dealer where we have had work done before.  Zack and I got back home about 11 p.m. and relived the story to Tara and Alexa.

The good news is Zack and his 2 passengers were okay.  And we haven't sold the minivan yet, so at least we have an extra jalopy around until his Element is fixed.

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