Oh Deer!

Student collides with animal on drive home


Photo submitted by Adela Lipari

Charley Thomas, Editor in Chief

One would think competing in the Eastern Kansas League cross country meet is enough stress for one day, but for senior Adela Lipari, a bizarre series of events had yet to unfold. Driving home from a team dinner at Cane’s, she came head to head with quite the bump in the road.

“I was coming up on a curve about four minutes away from my house, and a deer — a really big buck with a rack — ran across the street in front of me, and I hit it,” Lipari said.

Caught off guard by the collision, Lipari and her fellow passenger needed time to process the accident before collecting themselves.

“My sister was screaming, so it was hard for me to focus,” she said. “I was probably screaming too.”

Despite the chaos, Lipari managed to react and consider all her possible options in a matter of seconds. 

“I didn’t want to swerve into oncoming traffic, and there wasn’t a safe place to pull off to the side of the road because there was a ditch,” she said. “I also didn’t want to flip my car, so I just kept driving and used Siri in my car to call my mom.” 

Though the two passengers were unharmed, the same cannot be said for their vehicle. 

“My headlight was broken, so I couldn’t see as well [on the drive home],” Lipari said. “The hood of my car was so dented that if I drove over 20 miles an hour with it in that condition, it probably would have flown up and broken my windshield. When we got home and took pictures of it to send to the insurance company, there was deer fur all over the grill.”

As can be imagined, the stressful situation impacted Lipari’s family and her sister, and herself. 

“It was traumatic for everyone because we were screaming and freaking out on the call,” she said. “Think about it from the perspective of parents — you pick up the phone and your kids are screaming, and you don’t know if they’re dying or if they’re being attacked.”

Though an unscathed car would have been a nice bonus, Lipari’s parents were focused only on the well-being of the passengers inside.

“Once we got home, their reaction was immediately ‘Are you two OK?’,” she said. “That was their number one concern because the car is just a thing. It can be fixed.”

Whether it’s a spontaneous animal crossing or some other perilous predicament from behind the wheel, Lipari urges drivers to remember what’s important in moments of crisis. 

“Do the safest thing for yourself and the passengers in the car, and everything else will work out,” she said. “Don’t try to worry about fixing or saving the car because the car can be replaced, and a life cannot.”