Deer population makes Shelby County driving dangerous

(WMC-TV) – A Memphis woman says an increase in the local deer population created a hazard that nearly claimed her life.

Linda Leake was driving on 385 one February evening when a deer jumped through her windshield. The windshield was almost torn off the frame and the windshield wipers were buckled over the dashboard.

"There was a doe leaping in the air and, of course, I couldn't see it because it was very dark," said Leake.

Leake was driving 65 miles per hour on 385, between Forest Hill Irene and Houston Levee, when the 125 pound deer hurtled through the windshield.

Leake said both the windshield and the deer landed inside her van after the crash. The impact knocked her out.

She coasted along 385, unconscious, and eventually woke up while her vehicle was still in motion.

"My face felt very funny," she said. "It was real numb feeling. I knew something wasn't right. So I thought I've just got to pull over to the shoulder to see what's going on."

When Leake pulled over she reached up to look in the rear view mirror, but it wasn't there.

"I looked in the back and saw the deer on the floor."

Leake finally discovered her injuries after looking at herself in a hand mirror.

Luckily, she had the wherewithal to call her husband and hail down a truck.

"Somebody's going to get killed out there," she said. "I was just blessed, very fortunate that I wound up with a fractured nose and had one surgery."

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the deer population in West Tennessee has grown to the point where "management efforts are focused at slowing or stabilizing herd growth."

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