Tennessee deer collisions rising, more than 7,000 in 2016
The Tennessee Highway Patrol and Virginia AAA are urging motorists to use extra caution during deer season. THP's most recent numbers show that during the past five years, Tennessee has an average of 1,614 deer related collisions during the month of November alone. Northeast Tennessee has had 691 deer involved wrecks in 2017. In Virginia, Department of Motor Vehicles records show 1,433 collisions with deer in November 2016. In September, Dalton Fanning was driving his truck through a neighborhood in Elizabethton, when his girlfriend saw a deer coming onto the road. "Well, she didn't say anything," Fanning said. "She just points her finger across in front of me, and before I could even think, it just ran straight out from somebody's yard." People in the neighborhood say it was a unusual sighting. "The neighbors came out," Fanning said. "[They were] telling me about how they'd lived there since 2001 and had never seen a deer in their lives anywhere around their house." Fanning had to pay about $900 to fix his truck. For others, like Joe Tranum, the consequences of a crash can be deadly. "Dad was riding his Harley, which he loved to do," Joe's daughter Tara Tranum said. "Unfortunately it was later at night and a deer had hit his bike." Joe passed away from injuries sustained in the crash. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says drivers should be especially careful during fall months, when deer are particularly active. "It's just like the old football saying," Lieutenant Rick Garrison said. "Keep your head on a swivel, you know. Be aware of your surroundings, and if you see a deer on the side of the road, slow down. If the deer darts out in front of you, don't try to swerve, because if you swerve, you could possibly lose control of your vehicle." Fanning said he has his passengers keep an eye out for deer. "Whenever we're going and I have somebody with me, I'm like, 'Be on the lookout; see if they're crossing,'" Fanning said. "Because you can usually see them coming." If you do have a collision with a deer, police ask that you do not approach the animal. Call 911 for assistance, or in Tennessee, you can dial 847 to reach the nearest THP office.