Deer sparks chain reaction of crashes on Hwy. 169

A semi and five cars were involved, all because of a single deer.
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A deer sparked a chain reaction of crashes on Highway 169 in southeast Minnesota, which started when a semi driver swerved to avoid it.

The shocking sequence of events happened on northbound 169 in Lake Prairie Township, northeast of Mankato, around 7:15 p.m. Sunday.

It started when a semi driver swerved to avoid the deer as it stood in the road, but ended up smashing into it, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

A Dodge in the left lane of the highway then braked as the semi swerved, at which point it was rear-ended by a following Honda.

All three vehicles then pulled to the right but the drama wasn't over.

A Chevrolet traveling north had to take evasive action to avoid the "deer parts" that were in the left lane, only to then get rear-ended by a Chrysler following behind.

The Chrysler spun around from the impact and was facing south when it was struck by an oncoming Mazda, which pushed the Chrysler into the median and its driver flying out of his vehicle.

The Mazda then went across to the shoulder where it hit the guardrail, striking one of the passengers from the other vehicles who was standing nearby.

Miraculously nobody was killed in the incident, with the State Patrol saying six out of the nine people in the vehicles – including a 14-year-old girl – had non-life-threatening injuries.

The other three were uninjured.

Deer collisions happen quite a lot

Vehicle vs. deer collisions happen quite a bit in Minnesota. In 2015 – the most recent year available – there were 2,141 deer-vehicle collisions, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Those crashes led to six deaths, 345 injuries, and 1,846 crashes that only caused property damage.

Insurance company State Farm says Minnesota is a "high risk" state for getting into a crash with a deer, noting on average one in 80 drivers in the state will have an insurance claim for damage caused by hitting a deer. The chance of hitting a deer doubles in October, November and December – when deer are mating.

State Farm has some other tips to avoid hitting a deer:

  • Pay attention and slow down, especially at dusk and dawn.
  • If you see one deer, there may be others trying to cross the road.
  • Brake if you can, but avoid swerving – doing so could make the crash more severe.

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