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Breeding Season Makes Deer-Vehicle Collisions More Likely

PennDOT stats show most deer-related crashes occur in fall.

Pity the poor deer.

It's brains are so scrambled by hormones during the October-January rutting season that it does not look where it is going and will step right into the path of a moving vehicle.

Then pity the poor motorist.

A deer will step, jump, run, dart right in front of a vehicle so quickly that even the most powerful brakes on earth cannot stop it in time.

"PennDOT statistics show nearly half of all reportable crashes in the past five years involving deer occurred in the months of October and November, with nearly 77 percent taking place between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.," according to PennDOT.

Simply put, deer are most active between dusk and dawn and are particularly busy during mating season. Hunting season doesn't make things easier; deer are on the run then also.

More than 3,000 crashes involving deer were reported last year in Pennsylvania, resulting in more than 600 injuries and eight fatalities, PennDOT statistics show.

Driving on the hilly, curved roads through the Pine-Richland area is already a challenge. Knowing a deer could jump in front of you at any time is especially scary.

Headlights catch the glow of their eyes on just about every road in Pine and Richland townships. Some suggestions from PennDOT to reduce the risk of a deer-related crash:

  • Motorists should slow down and be especially cautious during morning and evening hours.
  • Drivers should also increase following distance between vehicles, especially where deer-crossing signs are posted.
  • Deer often travel in herds, so if you see one deer crossing the road, there’s a strong chance that others will follow.
  • Wear your seatbelt in case you and a deer collide.

If a collision is unavoidable and you are wondering what to do about that deer carcass, first you need to figure out if you are on a state-maintained road. If you are, call 1-800-FIX-ROAD and PennDOT will remove it. If you are not on a state road, call the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 724-238-5639.

In Richland Township, the states roads are Bakerstown Road/Red Belt, Route 910, Route 8 and Hardt Road.

Pine Township has a longer list of state-maintained roads:

Babcock Boulevard, Bakerstown Road/Red Belt, Franklin Road, Freeport Road, Gibsonia Road/Route 910, Graham Road, Mars Road, Mars-Valencia Road, Pearce Mill Road, Perry Highway/Route 19, Wallace Road, Warrendale Road, Wexford-Bayne Road and Wexford Road/Route 910.

The best thing to do is call 911 or Northern Regional Police Department at 724-625-3156. The police will summon medical help or a tow truck if you need it. Police also will write a report, which comes in handy when your insurance company asks for it.

Here are the stories of deer collisions that have been reported to this fall:

Nov. 17

Anna Mae Caracciolo, 64, of Pittsburgh hit a buck at the intersection of Warrendale Road and Mars Road in Pine Township about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, according to a police report.

She said the deer got back up and ran away.

Deer fur was visible on the damaged front grill and bumper of her 2012 Nissan Sentra, the police report said. No injuries were reported and the vehicle did not need to be towed.

Nov. 12

Glenn Chiaramonte, 48, of Gibsonia was traveling east on Route 910/Gibsonia Road in Richland Township near the intersection with Hardt Road around noon Nov. 12 when a deer came off the hillside and landed on the hood/grill area of his car, police reported. The driver did not report any injuries and the vehicle was driveable, but the deer was DOA.

Nov. 4

Ernest G. Nicolas III, 34, of Gibsonia was traveling south on Route 8 about 7 p.m. Nov. 4 when he hit a deer that ran out in front of him, said police. The accident happened near the intersection with Cunningham Drive in Richland Township.

The vehicle, which was pulled off the road at , had moderate front-end damage and was leaking radiator fluid, according to the police report. The driver told police he contacted AAA for a tow.

Nov. 2

Leah Zerbs, 30, of Baden was driving on Route 910 near Beech Street when a deer ran into the right side of her vehicle about 11:30 p.m. Nov. 2, police said. Her 2011 Chevrolet Equinox sustained damage to the front right fender, doors and rear bumper, said police. No injuries were reported and the vehicle was driveable. 

Oct. 31

The front end of a 2008 Toyota Sienna was severely damaged when it hit a deer about 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in Richland Township, police said.

Crystal D. Perez, 35, of Butler was driving on Route 8 near the intersection with Glasgow Road when the deer jumped in front of her, said police.

The driver and two children who were traveling with her appeared to be uninjured, according to the police report.

Because of their ages, they were transported to UPMC Children’s Hospital by to be checked for injuries at the driver's request, the report said.

The Toyota was towed by and the dead deer was removed from the road, awaiting pickup from PennDOT.

Oct. 28

Irene Payne, 21, of Gibsonia struck a deer that ran onto the road in the 3800 block of Dickey Road, near Route 910, about 11:45 p.m. Oct. 28, police said.

The left headlight lens was cracked on her 1995 Mercury Cougar, police said. No injuries were reported. 

Oct. 25

Matthew Laporte, 42, of Seven Fields was driving a 2002 Mazda Tribute on Warrendale Road about 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 when he hit a deer that ran in front of him, police said. The accident occurred near Pine Park Drive in Pine Township, according to the police report.

Oct. 20

Edward Massucci, 72, of Pittsburgh was driving west on Route 910 near North Chapel Drive in Pine Township when a deer ran in front of his car about 8 a.m. Oct. 20, police said. Massucci's vehicle had moderate damage to the right front, but could be driven, said police. The driver said he was not injured, the police report said.

Oct. 19

Anita Zokaites, 55, of Gibsonia hit a small deer that ran in front of her 2009 Pontiac G-6 about 7:15 p.m. Oct. 19 in Pine Township, police said. 

The accident occurred on Route 910 in the area of Irwin Road, police said.    

The driver said she was not injured. The right front corner of the vehicle's grill and bumper were damaged, but the vehicle could be driven, the police report said.

Sept. 26

Goldye Waskiewicz, 57, of Pittsburgh was traveling east on Route 910, passing the intersection with Parkview Drive in Pine Township, when a deer suddenly entered the road and collided with her car about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 26, according to the police report.

No injuries were reported.

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