Aaron Hutchins, a Northborough selectman, drives a stretch of Route 2 westbound from Belmont through Acton a few times a month. He's had a few close calls with squirrels, but has never seen a deer on this route. That is until this past Tuesday night when Hutchins hit a deer who was crossing Route 2 in Acton.
"I was in Belmont Tuesday evening attending my church's temple services," said Hutchins. "Around 10 p.m., I was traveling westbound on Route 2 in Acton, driving in the lefthand lane. The portion of the highway where the accident occurred has a guardrail barrier separating the east and west lanes. I'm guessing, although I doubt anyone can really say, that particular median design is more attractive for deer crossings than the solid concrete barriers. The guardrails seem to be lower to the ground than the concrete dividers. There are no overhead lights on that stretch of Route 2, and even with my headlights, I only saw the deer a nanosecond before it impacted my car."
In that instant, Hutchins said, he knew what was going to happen and hoped "this thing doesn't come through my windshield. He didn't know if the deer was standing still or attempting to move, and had no opportunity to swerve.
"Consequently, upon impact, my side curtain airbags deployed, which probably frightened me more than anything," said Hutchins. "I've never been in an accident with air bag deployment previously. Those airbags are apparently fired much like a bullet, as the interior cabin air smelled of gunpowder. And the only 'injury,' which I conveyed to the responding officers, was a sore left shoulder where the airbags had hit me."
Hutchins says there wasn't much traffic at the time of the accident, and he was able to slowly move to the breakdown lane and stop. The deer, he said, was killed instantly.
"This was an unfortunate lottery, and given the size of these animals and the highway speeds," said Hutchins, "I consider myself lucky to have escaped this encounter with merely automobile damage."