Restored 1968 Fiat Before the Crash
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Late one Saturday night in July 2000, I was traveling South on Interstate 5, just past the town of Yreka, California when we hit a deer at 70mph. I was driving a freshly restored 1968 Fiat 124 Spider with my twin brother Ed. I was 1,600 miles from home, 30 miles away from returning from an annual weekend rendezvous of Italian sports Cars at Howard's Prairie Resort, east of Ashland, Oregon
It was dark, about 11:30 pm, and traffic was very light for a Saturday night. Cars were spaced at 1-2 miles. About mile south of the Yreka turnoff, I glanced over at a deer crossing sign on the right side of the road. At that very instant, before I returned my attention to the road, a full sized doe leaped in front of the car. I didn't even have a chance to lift off the gas, much less hit the brakes or attempt to maneuver around the 350lb deer.
We were able bring the car to a safe stop, well off the side of the road.
Immediately looking back we saw that the deer was not in the traffic lanes to cause another accident. Neither of us were hurt, not even a scratch or bruise. We were both wearing upgraded seat belts, which kept us in the car.
The deer was killed instantly.
The damage sustained to the little sports car was moderate to heavy from the direct blow to the center of the car, as shown in the pictures. The local CHP stated that they get 3 to 4 deer incidents every night on this 3 mile stretch of interstate (?!). He also mentioned that in the dozen or so years of patrolling this area, he thought we were extremely lucky to have to survived the impact. The deer carcass was thrown almost 200 feet, 199 feet past the deer crossing sign.
Another amazing fact is, after removing the freshly painted hood and new grille, pulling out the driver's side fender, and plugging the radiator, we drove that Fiat all the way back home to Colorado the next day!
Buckle up folks...and treat those deer crossing signs as legitimate warnings!
Submitted 9 April 2002 by Pete A., 46 yrs old
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