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Buck charges car, lands in back seat as occupants duck

By MARY SCHLEY

Published: September 27, 2013

PACIFIC GROVE resident Julie Tetreau was slowly cruising down Grove Acre in her Chrysler convertible with her mom in the passenger seat, on the way to pick up her boyfriend at his apartment, when a big buck appeared out of nowhere and charged her car. He hit the front, flipped over the hood — nearly missing Tetreau and her mother, who had ducked — and landed in the back seat, all in a flash.
And then he was gone.

“The top was down on my car, because it was gorgeous out, and it was broad daylight,” Tetreau said about her Sept. 16 drive. “And this buck came out of nowhere. I’ve hit a couple of deer before, but this was strange, because he just charged right at me. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

She said the animal “looked angry” as he charged the car and then hit the little Chrysler 200 — “I guess he liked it,” she said — shattered the passenger-side headlight and flew over it, his hooves striking a cooler in the backseat.

“We were fortunate, because my mom ducked, but she probably could have caught a hoof,” Tetreau said Wednesday, as she was en route to pick up her car from the repair shop. “It was a 10-point buck, so he could have done some serious damage.”

After the animal flipped over their heads, Tetreau was convinced he was stuck in the rear seat and thought she could hear him breathing, but by the time she slammed on the brakes and pulled over, the buck had vanished. Or, as the Pacific Grove police officer who took Tetreau’s report had written it, “the deer had fled the scene.”

“He was perfectly fine, which is bizarre to me,” she said. “I was hoping I killed it, because I would have liked to have some deer meat — it’s expensive and it’s healthy for you.”

Tetreau, who moved to P.G. from Michigan six months ago, said she’s never seen a buck charge like that.

“Usually, they just stand there and let you drive by,” she said. “It was super scary.”

Tetreau wondered if the car had startled him.

“He was on some sort of mission,” she said. “We had music going, so maybe that spooked him.”

Fall is mating season for deer, and wildlife officials often issue warnings to motorists, hikers and others to be aware of aggressive and unpredictable animals.

“They do sometimes during this season get very bold,” said Carmel animal control officer Cindi Mitchell. “They do attack people. I haven’t heard of them going after a car, but if they perceive something as a danger, they will react aggressively.”