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Deer make a run in BI-LO

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By Jenny Hartley

Live deer, aisle 3?

Cliff West thinks maybe that was the message over the intercom at the BI-LO grocery store near Applebee's on Sunday.

West said he was eating at nearby Zaxby's with his wife, Missy, when they noticed a deer running along the sidewalk in front of the stores in the shopping center. The deer would get to a door and then run into it, as if it was looking for a dark place to run.

When the deer got to BI-LO, the automatic doors opened, and the deer ran right inside.

Later, West learned that a younger deer had run into the grocery store, so it's possible the adult deer, a doe, was looking for it.

"It was kind of funny," West said. "The deer ran in the door, and you should have seen all the people run out. They probably left their buggies and everything."

Unfortunately, the adult deer tried to escape the store by running through a glass window. The impact broke her neck, killing her.

First Sgt. Todd Campbell of S.C. Department of Natural Resources said people in the store tackled the other deer and released it into the woods near the store. DNR Officer Sean Coates of Lancaster responded to the call.

The dead deer was taken by a grocery store customer for processing.

Campbell said DNR officers responded to a similar call in Rock Hill last year, when a deer ran into the Tropical Express restaurant.

"The deer destroyed the restaurant trying to get out," Campbell said. "It does happen when the deer get to wandering. Once they get inside, they realize they don't need to be there."

West said he hated to hear that one of the deer died. It definitely made for an unusual Sunday.

"There's deer everywhere now, but when you turn into a big shopping center and see a deer running around, it's not something you expect," West said. "I know the people inside must have been shocked."

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151