Watch out for deer: Germantown patrol car totaled after officer hits deer

Posted at 8:09 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 21:09:26-05
GERMANTOWN -- During this time of year, drivers are more than likely to see deer dart on roads.
To the surprise of one Germantown police officer, he recently walked away safely from a collision with a deer that could've been much worse.
"It kind of jumped right in front of the car before I had a chance to react. It could've turned out way worse," said Germantown police officer Justin Pesch.
The dash cam was rolling when the accident happened, and not much is left of his severely damaged patrol car -- it's totaled.
"It was so sudden,” he said.
Officer Pesch tells TODAY'S TMJ4 that the collision happened around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday while he was pursuing a speeder on I-41 south. He said he's grateful he only has minor injuries -- he walked away with a banged up knee and a sprained wrist.
"Thankfully the deer didn't come up on the hood, if it would've came up on the hood it would've probably went through the windshield," Pesch said.
Which he said would've been really surreal.
“The car did its job. I’m just happy that it did what it was supposed to do and kept me alive,” he said.
For the next week, Officer Pesch said he'll be on light duty. He doesn't expect to be back patrolling until he's fully healed.
Last year Wisconsin law enforcement agencies reported close to 20,000 deer vs. motor vehicle crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
WisDOT and the Wisconsin State Patrol offer the following advice to prevent deer crashes:
  • Be on the lookout for deer, eliminate distractions while driving, and slow down especially in early morning and evening hours, which are the most active times for deer.
  • Always buckle up. There are fewer and less severe injuries in vehicle vs. deer crashes when drivers and passengers wear seat belts.
  • If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten it away.
  • When you see one deer, look for another one. Deer seldom run alone.
  • If you see a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect it to move away. Headlights can confuse a deer causing it to freeze.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
  • Don’t swerve suddenly because you may lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you hit a deer, get your vehicle off the road if possible, and then call a law enforcement agency. Walking on a highway is dangerous, so stay in your vehicle if you can.
  • Don’t try to move the animal if it is still alive. The injured deer could hurt you.