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94 mph hit survived in a Charger

by Chris Vander Doelen on

One of our regulars sparked a lively discussion on deer collisions the other day when he posted a story and video to our forum of a high-speed police car hit in Minnesota.

A deputy sheriff from Isanti County (about 50 miles due north of Minneapolis) walked away in good health after hitting a deer with his Charger Pursuit police vehicle. He was going very fast – up to 114 mph, according to some reports. So the car and the deer are both finished, of course.

Isanti County Sheriff’s Office dash cam image

But the driver walked away with the most minimal of injuries — “a bit of road rash on his arm from the air bag,” was the way Isanti County Lieutenant Lance Olson put it this morning when he talked to about the collision.

Olson said the deputy’s speed was called for due to the serious nature of the gun call he had been dispatched to. But he didn’t hit the deer at quite the speed claimed by subsequent reports: “The impact speed was about 94 mph” after braking and minimal evasive maneuvers, which are fruitless of course.

If you’ve ever been in a car/deer collision, you know how impossible it seems to NOT hit the animal, even at much lower speeds. Unlike moose or elk, which usually slow down or continue to plod in a straight line across the road, deer often veer away in an attempt to run parallel to the vehicle once they realize they can’t beat it – and, bam.


Cars and trucks hits deer nearly every minute of every day in the northern states – more than a million collisions annually, in some years. The only thing that makes the Isanti collision newsworthy is the speed – and the dash cam and body cam evidence of the impact. (You can’t see the deer, really, so it’s no wonder the deputy didn’t).

Isanti deputies have experienced eight collisions with deer so far in 2017, Olson said Wednesday. Three of the vehicles were written off, which is common once all the air bags blow on any vehicle “with a few miles on them.”

And the size of the car does matter, Olson says. “Yeah, there’s more distance between your body and the deer. I wouldn’t want to hit one in a Yugo, or whatever small car you have.”


Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; he was the Star's automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.

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