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Man suffers minor injuries in deer-related crash; second in a week in Douglas County

At least two people have been injured in crashes involving deer on highways in Douglas County within the past week, according to local public safety agencies.

A passenger suffered suspected minor injuries after a deer ran into the roadway on Interstate 70 in Douglas County around 4:30 a.m. Monday, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol crash report. The crash occurred around mile marker 191, which is north of Stull and near the Shawnee County line.

The driver of the vehicle tried to avoid the deer, lost control, rolled and collided with a barrier wall. The passenger, Dennis Verdeja, a 53-year-old from Saint Paul, Minnesota, was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital with suspected minor injuries, the crash report says.

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Last week, just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, a driver was injured and taken to a local hospital for treatment after a crash involving a deer, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Rich Qualls told the Times via email.

“An eastbound vehicle struck a deer which sent the animal into the westbound lanes where it was struck by a second vehicle,” Qualls said.

Tuesday’s crash was on Kansas Highway 10, approximately between the interchanges at Iowa Street and 27th Street. The stretch was temporarily closed while first responders rendered aid, Qualls said. Qualls did not identify the driver.

According to tips from the Kansas State University Research and Extension office:
• Drivers should be extra cautious around dawn and dusk.
• Deer often travel in small groups, so seeing one could indicate that another will cross soon.
• Deer have regular patterns — if you see them in an area once, it’s likely they’ll pass through that area again.
• If you see a deer in the roadway, flash your lights and honk your horn to try to get it to move.
• Crashes involving deer are more likely to be fatal when the driver attempts to miss hitting the animal. If crashing is unavoidable, try not to swerve out of the way.

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— Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached via email at mclark@lawrencekstimes.com or 785-422-6363.

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