A 34-year-old Suitland man was killed yesterday in Fairfax County when his van collided with a deer that had caromed off another vehicle, county police said. The accident underscored the growing hazard of deer on the roads, and police called for extra vigilance, particularly in the fall.
In yesterday's accident, Leslie V. Jordan, of the 4500 block of Davis Avenue, was killed about 11:40 a.m. on Centreville Road near Lowe Street in the Chantilly area, police said.
They said a 1988 Acura had been southbound on Centreville Road when a deer stepped into the car's path. The Acura knocked the deer across the road and into the path of Jordan's northbound 1984 Chevrolet step van, police said.
The deer's body went through the van's windshield, injuring Jordan fatally, according to police. They said the van ran off the road and struck a guy wire.
Jordan was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The driver of the other vehicle, identified as Louis Majette, 51, of the 3400 block of Briargate Court in the Franklin Farm area, was uninjured, police said. The deer was killed.
After the accident, county police issued a call for motorists to be especially watchful from October through early December, which is deer mating season.
Police said that from 1992 to 1998, more than half of the crashes involving deer in Fairfax occurred in the October-through-December period. Other jurisdictions have recorded similar statistics.
In addition to the mating instinct, police said, deer race across roadways in the autumn to get acorns to eat.
Last year, police said, there were 167 crashes in Fairfax between deer and cars, causing 23 injuries to motorists. In the first eight months of this year, there have been 104 crashes and 10 injuries.
Police said the county appears to be headed for a significant rise in the number of such accidents.
They called for precautions, including driving at a moderate speed, particularly near wooded or open areas and streams. (Police said speed was not a factor in yesterday's crash.) Police emphasized the importance of deer crossing signs, which are usually placed where collisions have occurred.
In addition, police forwarded recommendations from the American Automobile Association, which called for braking rather than swerving to avoid deer. The AAA said the most serious accidents occur when drivers lose control of their cars trying to avoid an animal.
If a collision cannot be avoided, the AAA said, motorists should release the brake at the time of impact so that the front of the car will rise, making it possible for the deer to go underneath the vehicle, rather than crashing through the windows.
Staff writer Steven Ginsberg contributed to this report.