VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Deer have been the cause of two Sheriff Department Vehicle crashes in Berrien County in just one week.
Deputy Kenny Eaton was on patrol Friday morning. He lost control of his cruiser while trying to avoid a deer, slid into a wet ditch, overturned and was ejected from his vehicle.
He was treated for a fractured spine and released.
Wednesday night, another deputy hit a deer while on-duty. That crash was caught on the cruiser's dash camera.
He was driving through the city of Nashville and hit a deer.
"An officer was going to Ray City. You can see it on the video. The deer just gave him no room," says Berrien County Sheriff Anthony Heath.
This crash is the 96th deer-car collision the sheriff's office has responded to this year.
"That's not all the crashes related to deer we've had. We turn some of them over to the Georgia State Patrol to work," Heath adds.
The Department of Natural Resources reports there are more than one million deer in Georgia. So far, they've caused 50,000 crashes. And fall is the time of year when the deer are out more than ever.
"The food's getting scarce, they have to go places to find food, now they are trying to find mates, we are in the middle of rut, so they are going to be moving around," says Reed Bingham Interpretive Ranger Jennifer Glover.
Around the country, the number of deaths and deer-car crashes have more than doubled in the past 15 years.
"People are moving into their territories. The deer are really adaptable, so they're not going to leave just because people move in with their big cars and stuff. They deal with it," Glover says.
Experts say slow down. It's the best way to avoid becoming a statistic.
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