Deer kills fourth S.C. motorcyclist so far this year

jmonk@thestate.comOctober 7, 2013 

— For the fourth time this year – and what may be a record – a deer bounding across a road has killed a motorcyclist in South Carolina.

The latest person to die because of a deer was Merry Davis, 64, a retired pharmacist from Texas, who was riding on the back of her husband’s 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The crash took place Sunday on U.S. 501 between Aynor and Galivants Ferry – a stretch of open highway with two lanes on each side and woods bordering the highway. The time of the crash was about 7:45 a.m. – about 20 minutes after sunrise, when deer are known to be on the move.

According to the Highway Patrol, a deer ran out from the right side of the road and collided with the motorcycle as it was traveling toward Galivants Ferry.

“The driver lost control, and the passenger and the driver were ejected from the motorcycle,” said S.C. Highway Patrol Senior Trooper Bridget Wyant.

Drivers and motorcyclists in South Carolina have a greater chance of crashing into a deer than drivers in most other states, according to an insurance company study. The state ranks 11th out of the 50 states in a motorist’s chance of hitting a deer, according to State Farm.

Already this year, four people – three on motorcycles and one in a car – have died after crashing into a deer.

Last year, six South Carolinians died after their vehicles hit a deer.

In September, a husband and wife riding their Kawasaki motorcycle down a road in a wooded area in Barnwell County died after striking a deer.

Also in September, in Richland County, Jonathan J. McNaughton, 31, died after his motorcycle struck a deer in the 3100 block of Kennerly Road.

Earlier in the year, a motorist in a car was killed in a deer-vehicle collision.

In 2012 in South Carolina, 518 people were injured in deer -human collisions and 1,935 vehicles or other property were damaged, according to the Department of Public Safety. So far this year, as of Aug. 31, 238 people have been injured and 805 cases of property damage to vehicles have been reported.

Deer are most active around dusk and dawn, and that’s when the deer-motorcycle collisions so far this year have taken place.

Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.

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