By Matt Schmitz on May 27, 2014
At last count, Hawaii ranked among all U.S. states as the place where a motorist is least likely to hit a deer, with annual odds of 1-in-6,787. That in mind, the odds of what happened to a suburban Chicago woman and her family must be incalculably astronomical: A deer actually fell from above onto the minivan in which she and her four children, ages 5 to 13, were traveling, crashed through the windshield and came to rest near the middle of the vehicle's cabin.
According to the Daily Herald newspaper, 37-year-old West Dundee, Ill., resident Heidi Conner was driving about 70 mph Sunday afternoon on a toll road near Hoffman Estates, Ill., when a 200- to 300-pound doe jumped from a highway overpass and became a dangerous, uninvited passenger. Conner was able to pull the vehicle over safely with the animal's mangled body lying between her and the passenger seat. The minivan — a 2004 Chevrolet Venture, last produced in the U.S. for the 2005 model year — was destroyed, but she and her 13-year-old son suffered only minor injuries, the newspaper reported.
As Cars.com reported in October, State Farm estimated that 1.22 million deer-related crashes occurred between July 2012 and July 2013, a 3.5 percent dip compared with the previous year. Still, deer-related crashes have increased in frequency by 2 percent during the past five years. Meanwhile, the average property-damage cost of car-versus-deer crashes during the last half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 was $3,414, a 3.3 percent spike from a year earlier.
News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt