Car hits deer; airborne deer hits Loudoun runner

Krystine Rivera had a bad day at work Thursday and was waffling over whether to head out for a seven-mile run. She decided to go for it.

And then her day, as she says, “got astronomically worse.”

She was hit by an airborne deer.

Rivera, 27, was jogging on a path adjoining Claiborne Parkway in Ashburn near the Dulles Greenway about 6 p.m. A 71-year-old woman from South Riding was driving a Toyota SUV on the road. And the deer — a buck — came from somewhere.

The SUV struck the deer, which sent the animal flying into Rivera, who remembers running one minute and then coming to in an ambulance as a paramedic told her he needed to cut away one of her favorite running shirts “because it had deer blood all over it.’’

“That’s when I knew a deer was part of this,” Rivera said Saturday.

The buck died at the scene. The driver was treated at Inova Loudoun Hospital and released, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Rivera, who was taken to the same hospital and also released Thursday evening, suffered a concussion, a cut to her scalp and a bruise to her right knee, she said during a phone interview. “My whole right side hurts.”

Barely 5 feet tall, Rivera already had been jokingly nicknamed “The Hulk” by her friends, “so I guess now they can really call me that,” she said.

She had clocked five miles Thursday in her neon orange running shoes and was on the final stretch toward her home in Ashburn when she was hit by the deer.

“I’d thought that the run would make me feel better after work,” said Rivera, an administrative analyst. She has been a runner for about five years and started taking part in marathons last year. She also leads runs for a Loudoun fitness club.

She doesn’t recall seeing the deer as it sailed toward her. “I was running, then I was on the ground and then was listening to the paramedic. I’m surprised I made it out alive.”

A female passerby called 911 and used Rivera’s phone to dial numbers that reached Rivera’s boyfriend and her family. “I want to really thank her, whoever she was. And I am glad the driver is all right.”

Rivera said she runs the path often — and will again.

So how will she retell this tale?

“It’s hard to know where to start. Maybe, ‘I was out for a run one day . . . ’ No, actually I probably have to start with, ‘This really strange thing happened to me once.’ ”

Caitlin Gibson and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
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