LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Thursday night, an Excelsior Springs man died in an accident while trying to avoid a deer. Highway Patrol says he swerved, his car left the road, and he was thrown from the car.
MoDOT is warning drivers to never swerve to miss deer. They say it’s already proven to be dangerous. If you do have to hit a deer, MoDOT workers and body shops are ready to deal with those accidents — especially this time of year.
The Gator Getter. While it was designed to pick up torn up tires, MoDOT “souped it up” to make it able to pick up deer on the side of the road.
“It’ll just scoop the deer up, and you can keep right on going,” said Scott Banes, a MoDOT maintenance supervisor for Lee’s Summit and Independence.
For workers, it’s a preferable way to pick up road kill, compared to the “old fashioned way.”
“Otherwise, you do it the old fashioned way. You stop, and get backed up and you drag the deer off into a trailer and load them by hand,” Banes explained.
But this time of year, deer are mating, and they like to run around more in the cooler weather, so MoDOT’s Gator Getter has been so busy, it’s now busted.
“The Gator Getter’s taken a beating. We’ve used it quite a bit here lately for all of Jackson County,” Banes said.
Banes says it’ll stay busy through December.
“When we start at seven, we’re always behind. There’s always nine or 10 calls waiting for reports for deer.”
Chris Talley from Talley’s Auto Body knows the feeling.
“We’ll probably anticipate in the next couple weeks picking up with deer hits,” Talley said.
He says the opening weekend of hunting season in Missouri is when business really starts to pick up because the deer can do a lot of damage.
“They can do anywhere between a thousand and seven thousand dollars worth of damage,” Talley said.
MoDOT says the best way to avoid that kind of damage is to slow down and be on the lookout for deer because they’re not looking for you.
MoDOT also recommends not honking at deer because it could confuse them and cause them to run toward you, and they remind drivers to stay alert in areas that usually have deer and always wear your seat belt. MoDOT says most people injured in deer-related accidents aren’t buckled up.