HOWELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Howell Police are praising a driver for avoiding a fatal accident after a deer smashed through her windshield.
Police say Melissa Misthal was driving on Route 9 early Monday morning when a deer ran onto the road.
Misthal attempted to avoid the deer but crashed into it as it jumped, police said.
The car roof was caved in and the window was shattered in pieces, but somehow Misthal escaped with just a few cuts.
“I’m extremely lucky,” Misthal told CBS2’s Reena Roy.
Misthal, 36, wasn’t yet able to believe that luck just a few hours after he close call.
“That deer came through the window at just the right point to miss me,” she said. “It could’ve been much worse.”
Misthal told Roy she was driving her SUV around 7:30 Monday morning when a large deer with antlers, about 5 feet long and 200 pounds, smashed straight through her windshield.
“In the blink of an eye this deer just, I saw it right in my window, and it crashed through,” Misthal said.
Misthal says she was just five minutes from home on her way to work when the deer came running into traffic on Route 9 near Bergerville Road.
“The whole windshield shattered and came in, and mostly on my right side,” Misthal said, adding she suffered small cuts to her face.
Bleeding and in shock, she quickly and calmly pulled over to the shoulder, with the deer lifeless in her back seat.
“I pulled over immediately, got out of my car and called 911,” she said. “I think it was adrenaline. I just did what I thought was right, the safest thing for me and everyone around me.”
Responding officers from the Howell Police Department said deer-related accident happen in the area, but this was the worst they’ve seen.
“The car was pretty much totaled at that point,” said patrolman Ryan Jackson.
“Have you ever seen anything like that in this area?” Roy asked.
“Absolutely not, not like that,” Jackson said.
Police also praise Misthal for her quick thinking.
“If she didn’t have presence to pull over to side of road like she did she could’ve caused multiple vehicle accident behind her,” Jackson said.
As for Misthal, she’s just happy to be home with her family, and reminding others to keep an eye out on the roads.
Experts recommend staying on the road and hitting the deer rather than trying to swerve out of the way, which can often lead to crashing into trees or other drivers.