State Police say a dead deer led to a multiple-vehicle crash and caused a man to jump off a bridge to avoid getting hit.
The man was in a car traveling north on I-295 shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday, when he slowed to avoid a collision with another car. That vehicle had crashed trying to avoid a dead deer in the roadway. A third-vehicle then crashed into it from behind.
The man got out of his car to help the accident victims, when he saw a tractor-trailer, also trying to avoid the accident, barreling in his direction. He leaped over a concrete barrier, falling five stories off the Frederick Gray Bridge into a ravine at least 50 feet below.
Rescue teams lifted the man to safety. He survived, but badly injured his back. The person who first swerved to avoid the deer was also sent to the hospital. Both people have been released. State Police say there will be no charges filed.
A similar incident on I-95 in Chesterfield County killed a Richmond father, pulled over on the side of the road. He was changing a tire when the driver of a U-Haul truck ran off the road, hit and killed him in front of his two children.
With the summer travel season well underway, accidents like these do strike up safety concerns.
"If you can, get your car to the next exit and get off of the interstate- a bent rim is better than a lost life," said AAA Spokesperson, Martha Meade.
If drivers can't make it to an exit, Meade says it's best to stay inside your car because it ads extra protection.
"There may be some scenarios where it may be better to get out of the car," added Meade. "If there's a large embankment and you can up and away from the car, that's probably your better choice."
"It's a good idea for drivers to have reflective vests in their car. If they have to pull over on a busy road, cars will see them easier. For just a few bucks, it could save a life."
It's also smart for people to keep road flares or reflective triangles in their car, turn on hazard lights, and never work on a vehicle from the side that's exposed to traffic.
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