A Concord man was in critical condition Saturday night at a Winston-Salem hospital with injuries suffered when the compact car he was driving struck a deer on Interstate 77 the night before.
“This is probably in the truest sense of the word an accident,” Trooper Robert Boyes of the N.C. Highway Patrol said of the bizarre incident. It resulted in both lanes of the interstate being closed about 10 minutes so the victim could be airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with a life-threatening brain injury.
The collision occurred shortly after 6 p.m. Friday as darkness engulfed the interstate, while George Jacobs, 53, was southbound on I-77 with his wife Gordon, 55, who was in the front passenger seat.
Near the 97-mile marker of the interstate, the male deer apparently was trying to cross the road and might have been spooked. “The deer was directly in the vehicle’s path,” added the trooper, who was able to speak with Gordon Jacobs afterward about the circumstances leading to the crash.
Her husband applied the brakes of the 2012 Honda Accord intensely in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid striking the animal.
“It became airborne, so to speak,” Boyes said of the situation that was worsened by the fact the car sits low to the ground.
The small yearling buck weighing 150 to 175 pounds went through, but did not break, the windshield, with both the Jacobs struck and causing severe injury to him.
“I don’t think he was aware he was braking,” the trooper said of Jacobs’ reaction as the accident unfolded.
The deer came to rest in the back seat of the car. Upon stopping to help, passersby removed the animal thinking it might kick and continue to cause injuries, but it had been killed.
Meanwhile, emergency medical crews worked to stabilize the driver so he could be taken to the Winston-Salem trauma center by helicopter ambulance. Although the accident occurred in the southbound lanes of the interstate, the northbound lanes had to be closed as well because of the presence of emergency vehicles on the opposite side of the highway.
Gordon Jacobs was taken to the hospital by ground ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.
Adding to the bizarre nature of the incident was the fact that the car would have been drivable afterward had the windshield not been pushed out, Trooper Boyes said. The airbags did not deploy, he added.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.