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A Monroe, N.C., man found himself face to face with a deer moments after the animal crashed through the driver’s side window of his pickup Tuesday, April 23, on North Main Street.
The crash, which also sent shattered glass flying into the face of another driver, happened at about 3:50 p.m. near the Lancaster Square shopping center.
Donald Belk Jr., 62, was headed north on U.S. 521 when the deer hit the side of his white Ford pickup, according to a Lancaster Police Department traffic collision report.
“I didn’t see him. He came at an angle from behind the truck and he done hit the glass,” Belk said Thursday.
Before he knew what happened, the deer shot halfway through his rolled-up driver’s side window.
“That deer actually came into the cab with me. He got his head and up to the top of his legs in there,” Belk said. “He had me captured because he was between me and the steering wheel.”
The accident happened so quickly, Belk was left dazed.
“I didn’t know what to think,” he said.
Just as quickly, the deer fell out of the door and jumped into the bed of his truck.
“I turned off the highway, toward Kimbrell’s, and then he just limped off toward a nearby creek,” Belk said. “The police found him later in the thickets.”
Earnestine James, 56, was headed south on North Main Street when she saw the deer jump into the road.
“I was coming up the street into town and the deer came across in front of me. It stopped and the deer must’ve thought he had a clear path,” James said.
She remembered seeing the deer then collide with the pickup truck.
“I turned my head and all I saw was shattered glass,” she said. “EMS came and washed my eyes out and later I went to the ER and they put dye in my eye.”
A large group of Lancaster police officers, Emergency Medical Services paramedics and firefighters responded within minutes to the scene.
Lancaster Fire Department Chief Chuck Small said the deer caused significant damage to Belk’s truck.
“It busted out the side window, actually got in the truck and caused a lot of damage and then he took the back glass out,” Small said. “We found the deer behind Kimbrell’s, but it was already dead.”
Estimated damage to the truck is $1,000, the collision report said.
The shattered side and back windows of Belk’s truck could be seen as paramedics in blue gloves treated cuts on his bloodied arm. Emergency responders could also be seen speaking to James inside her car as they evaluated her for injuries at the scene.
Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard said the two drivers were only slightly injured during the chain of events.
“The male had a small cut on his arm and the female said she thought she had glass in her eyes. She was checked and released by EMS on the scene,” Howard said.
Springs Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Ashley Shannon said James was treated and released from the hospital later that night.
Belk said he was rattled, but mostly uninjured, after the accident.
“We (Belk and the deer) were both bleeding. I had a cut, but there wasn’t much to it. I’m sore, but OK,” he said. “But I don’t want to have that happen every day.”
Howard said there are no charges in the case as it was an accident. The accident report lists ‘animal in road’ as the contributing factor.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416