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Deputy wrecks car. Avoiding deer?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

Deputy wrecks car. Avoiding deer?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 16, 2013


Two nights ago a sheriff's deputy managed to run off northbound Dean Street, just south of U.S. 14 in Woodstock, taking out a 35MPH speed limit sign and post and causing significant damage to the right front of Unit 560. One of McHenry County's deer apparently surprised the driver.

Crashed Sheriff's Deputy Car Flattened Road Sign
What would you think the normal reaction of a driver would be to a deer suddenly appearing in front of him, whether walking or leaping across a road? What would you do? Would you slam on the brakes? Would you swerve to avoid the deer?

Or would you just drift off the road onto the shoulder? Would you just lift your foot off the accelerator and NOT stomp on the brakes? If you were going the speed limit of 45MPH and approaching a 35MPH zone, you'd probably get stopped pretty quickly - like in less than 39 yards before you hit and mangled a speed limit sign. Wouldn't you?

One deputy has told me that training is to stand on the brakes hard. If you have a choice of hitting a deer or running off the road, hit the deer. Of course, this will leave evidence of the deer on the patrol car.

There are no skid marks on the pavement or in the gravel on the shoulder.

This patrol vehicle is one of two with the not-too-popular (in some circles) ALPRs - Automated License Plate Readers. These are the devices that can read thousands of license plates per day, supposedly only looking for wanted plates. There is some degree of controversy about ALPRs, because some of them store information and thus can be used to track movements of the vehicles.

The vehicle apparently didn't stop where it ran over the speed limit sign. Debris is on the shoulder about 100 yards north of the downed sign.



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