A deer that was trying to cross Interstate 65 in the predawn hours of March 30 triggered a bizarre incident during which a vehicle struck a guardrail, tore it loose and sent it across two lanes of traffic, where five other vehicles ran over or struck the twisted piece of metal.
According to Alabama State Trooper reports, the chain of relatively minor accidents started around 5:48 a.m. when 79-year-old William E. Porter of Bay Minette, driving a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup, ran off the interstate near mile marker 50, just south of the Poarch exit, and into the median, striking the guardrail and knocking it into the roadway’s southbound lanes.
Troopers reported that the displaced guardrail was in turn struck by several other vehicles, including a 2008 Honda Accord driven by Gary D. Bradley of Frisco City, a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Kayla Renee Puckett of Muscle Shoals and a 2008 Pontiac GS driven by Christopher Marshall of Monroeville. Each of those vehicles had to be towed from the scene.
Atmore resident Barbara Hastings, who was driving south on the interstate when the freak accident occurred, also ran over the guardrail. Her vehicle was not damaged, nor was one of the others involved.
“There were about six of us traveling south, with a large, four-door pickup in front,” Hastings reported. “A large deer ran across in front of the pickup, and he tried to keep from hitting it. He tried to correct himself, but hit the guardrail and took out a lot of it, just curled it up.”
Hastings said the cars between her vehicle and the pickup sustained moderate to heavy damage.
“We all ended up running into and running over it because there wasn’t anywhere left to go,” she said. “There wasn’t time, and debris was everywhere – glass, metal and large chunks of tire strips where the railing had just cut the tires as they went through in front of me. When I got stopped there was the whole front end of a red car laying to my right.”
First responders from Poarch Fire Department were first on the scene, and Hastings said she was impressed by their professionalism.
“Poarch arrived first, and they were awesome,” she said. “Their feet hit the asphalt, and before they even got to you, they were asking are you okay.”
Troopers reported that there were no injuries to any of the drivers involved in the incident, which slowed traffic to some extent but did not lead to closure of the interstate.