A fellow reviewer of mine got into a car accident today. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt, and there wasn’t much damage to the car. Lucky guy.
Reminded me of the time I hit that deer. Wait, scratch that.
It reminded me of the time that deer hit me.
It was my 20th birthday. My friend–the only friend that didn’t live with his folks (at the time)–lived in a small apartment about forty minutes from where I lived with my parents and he told me to come up for my party. Cool beans.
I grabbed a movie that was already a couple days overdue on the way out the door. Figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone. Or two deer with one car. Whichever came first.
I left my house in a hurry, wanting to get my drink on and everything, and headed to the video store. Part of the trip involved taking Middletown Road, which was notorious for accidents. Parts of it were twisty and turny, but I had no fear. I had driven that road so many times, I could probably do it blindfolded. Hell, I think I actually did drive it one night without the lights on.
Anyway, I was hitting about 65 on that road. Honestly, it was no big deal because it’s a back road, and if you know it, you know it. The posted speed limit for what I like to think as for those who didn’t know it was 35.
So I’m cruising along, when suddenly I see a deer step out in my lane and do what a deer does in that situation. It froze. Being the rock-solid-tough-as-nails driver I am, I didn’t even panic. Knowing that slowing down wasn’t going to do dick, I cut the wheel to the left lane. Joy hit me for a split second when I (thought I had) made it around the deer, then, BAM!
My car spun out of control.
The weird thing is, I remember every moment. But I don’t remember it in “normal” speed, I remember it in slow motion. The car did a 450 (that’s a 360 + 90), hit the ditch and went up and over. And barely a scratch on me.
I swear, if I knew I was going to get through it, more or less, scratch free, I would have sat back and enjoyed the ride. Instead, I took a final pull on my cigarette (which, somehow, I had held on to–a man has to hold onto the important things, you know), climbed out of my car through the busted passenger’s side window and waved a car down. Fortunately, the person had a cell phone (and this was way before everyone had one like they do now) and they called the police for me.
Soon, a cop showed up and started taking the accident report (after verifying that I was okay, of course).
“How fast were you going?” Was his first question.
“Uh, 35, 40. Something like that.” I wasn’t quite sure what the speed limit was at the time.
“Uh huh. And what happened?” He asked. I don’t think he bought my 35 or 40.
“A deer hit me.”
“You hit a deer?”
“No. A deer hit ME.” I said. My story. I’m sticking to it.
“Okay. Let’s take a look.” He took out his maglight and turned it on. “Where did this deer hit you?”
I pointed down the street, and his flashlight followed my finger. No sign of the deer. I was beginning to think I was fucked.
“Let’s take a walk,” he said. And I led the way to where I was hoping the deer would be.
We walked for a little bit (and by little bit, I mean little bit. This wasn’t a hike. It was maybe 40 yards) and we came up to the deer. It wasn’t moving.
The cop nudged the deer with his foot. “It’s dead,” he said. He then turned around and shined his flashlight to the general direction where my car was (neatly parked upside down between two trees) and he busted out laughing.
“Son,” he said, “you were cooking and you know it.”
I didn’t say anything. No need to argue.
“But I’m not going to write you a ticket. You know why?”
“Why?” I asked.
“It’s your birthday. Consider it a gift. Plus your car is totaled.”
I smiled. I had to admit, the guy was pretty cool. “I don’t think it’s totaled,” I said.
He laughed again. “Let’s go take a look.”
We headed back to my car and he gave it the once over with the flashlight. “See,” I said,” it doesn’t look too bad. Just the passenger window was knocked out.” And it didn’t look too bad. There was virtually no damage to the sides.
“Son,” he said, “you ever hear a car scream?”
What kind of question is that? “No,” I said.
“You will tonight.”
I didn’t know what he meant until the tow truck came. In order to flip the car right side up, they had to drag the car onto the street for friction.
Metal dragged on pavement. I heard my car scream.
Once the car was flipped right side up, the cop walked around it again with his flashlight. I stood off to the side, smoking.
“Well I’ll be damned, you were right.” he said. “Son, come here.”
I walked over and looked at the spot above the rear passenger wheel well his flashlight was centered on. There was a small dent, some hair and some blood.
“You know what that is?” He asked.
“Where the deer hit my car.” I said.
“You’re damn right. And that’s how it’s going into my report. Two more feet, you would have cleared it.”
They towed the car back to my house where I called one of my friends to pick me up. He lived right up the street and, on the way, he picked up the deer, too.
That night we drank, the next night we had deer steak. Come to find out, the deer was a doe. And pregnant. My buddy couldn’t get a lot of meat from it due to the bruising and such, but he got enough to give me some redemption.
Oh, and one of the weirder things I remember from that accident?
During the whole incident, Def Leppard’s Let’s Get Rocked was playing in the car, and the song ended right as I killed the engine and right before I climbed out of the car. It’s as if I had my accident had a soundtrack.