Deer-related accidents on the rise

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:


GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A family is in shock after a husband died in a car crash after hitting a deer Saturday morning.

Troopers told Eyewitness News that a car hit the deer on Dallas-Cherryville Highway, pushing it into oncoming traffic where another car hit it, killing that driver.

"We (were) in the bed and it sounded like a transformer (blew) up," Ricky Horney said. "Come to the window and saw flames above the tree line."

Horney lives just across street from where the accident happened. He saw the victim's car in flames and watched as firefighters and troopers tried to help.

"The vehicle traveling eastbound struck the deer first, which knocked it into the opposite lane," Trooper J.D. Thornburg said.

"Knocked it into him, which knocked him out, and he lost control of the car," Horney said.

Authorities said the deer went through the entire car and likely caused the death of 69-year-old Charles Barry Ervin.

"He lives within a mile from here," Horney said.

He said deer often cross in the area.

It's their breeding season.

Authorities said deer-related accidents are on the rise. Troopers tracked 550 reported collisions involving deer between Gaston, Union and Mecklenburg counties in 2012 alone.

"They cross these roads all the time," Horney said.

But he's never seen a fatal accident with a deer in the area before.

"We all knew each other through the church and Barry was a good man. He really was," Horney said. "And it's just sad that something like this happens to good people like that."

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