Kate-Lynn Lewis was on her way home to Little Fort from a night shift job at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) at 8:20 a.m. on July 12, when without warning a deer jumped out of the high grasses and weeds on the side of Hwy. 5 right in front of her hybrid 2017 Toyota RAV 4 SUV.
With no time to slow down or avoid the animal, Lewis crashed into the deer with full impact, instantly killing it and deploying all the airbags in the vehicle.
According to Lewis, “There just wasn’t time at all to avoid the deer! I didn’t see it due to the high grass and I was doing the speed limit about seven kilometres south of Barriere.”
Lewis and her husband Brendan bought their half-acre property in Little Fort last fall, and she has been driving the long commute to Kamloops, often at night, returning in the morning following her shift at RIH.
“My neighbours had seen the articles about the issues on Highway 5 and thought this would be something important to share, as the weeds and grasses are so high and you just can’t see anything that might be there until it’s too late,” said Lewis.
She addded that the vehicle is a complete write-off, and that she is fortunate that she wasn’t badly injured.
“I’m so thankful that I was able to get the car off the road to the side, and the vehicles following were well spaced behind me. People were very nice who stopped to help. It’s sad for the deer, but I’m thankful it was killed instantly and didn’t suffer.”
Lewis said that it’s not the first time she’s seen deer that have obviously been struck and killed since moving to the valley and driving the highway regularly.
“We have wonderful neighbours in Little Fort, and one of them kindly came to pick me up when the tow truck from Barriere towed my vehicle. Other than a bit of whiplash, I’m very lucky. I hope something can be done about the high weeds and grasses along the sides of the roads before there is an even more serious accident or fatality. This could have been so much worse.”