While most Delaware County residents were relaxing at New Year’s Eve parties on the evening on Dec. 31, a Delaware County sheriff’s deputy responded to a call about a dead deer in the roadway that would end with law enforcement and medics saving a man’s life.
Deputy Josh Bender said Tuesday (Jan. 2) that he got the call around 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. He said calls about deer in the roadway are fairly common in fall and winter.
When Bender arrived at the scene on State Route 61 in Berkshire Township, he found what remained of the deer scattered all over the roadway.
“It was a road hazard,” Bender said. “I drove up and there’s just a huge blood smear and just 30 yards of deer guts. I finally find the deer and it’s in a heaping mess.”
Bender said he called another deputy, Deputy Steve Ridenour, to assist him in clearing the deer off the roadway in a reasonable amount of time. Bender explained that dead deer can typically just be dragged off the roadway, but because this scene was so messy there were numerous pieces that had to be removed from the road.
“I’d never seen anything like it,” Ridenour said. “It was just kind of everywhere. The condition that it was in led me to believe that a vehicle wouldn’t be able to survive the impact of the deer. So I started looking around for vehicle tracks in the snow.”
Ridenour said it was already dark at that time of night and about minus-10 degrees with the wind chill when he began walking along the road looking for a vehicle.
“I noticed some track marks in the snow and back onto the road and then off the road into a treeline,” Ridenour said. He estimated he was about 60 yards away from the initial scene and saw a vehicle with its lights off, crashed into a tree.
Ridenour said he and Bender rushed down to the car and found a man inside with a “pretty traumatic head injury.”
Bender said he and Ridenour called a medic while speaking to the man in the vehicle to try and gauge his condition. Bender said the man was in and out of consciousness. Medics arrived a few minutes later.
The man, 69-year-old Roscoe H. Brown Jr. from Lebanon, Ohio, was transported to Grant Medical Center in Columbus with incapacitating injuries.
Bender praised the medics, who climbed down a steep five-foot drop in the ice to retrieve the man.
“It was a group effort,” Bender said. Bender added that troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol opened a crash investigation after the deputies discovered the man. “It wasn’t just us.”
The deputies said no one is sure how long Brown had been out there, but it was so cold outside the the vehicle’s engine block was completely cold.
The patrol is still investigating the crash.
Ridenour said he didn’t really think that much of the call until later in the evening.
“After the fact is when I really started to think about what would have happened if we just pulled the deer off the road and drove away,” Ridenour said.
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903. Follow him on Twitter @BattishillDG.