May 3, 2012

VENISON VANDALS - Two Deer Wreak Havoc on Memphis Square

A number of windows on the south side of the Memphis city square were boarded up after two deer caused extensive damage early Sunday morning.

Two disoriented deer wreaked havoc on the Memphis city square Sunday morning, causing several thousand dollars in damage to at least four businesses on the south side of the square.

The Scotland County dispatcher was notified of the disturbance at 7:44 a.m. Two does had apparently wandered onto Monroe Street. As they ran east along the sidewalk, they became disoriented and started trying to escape the area. Those efforts resulted in a cracked window glass at the west corner of the square at Patrick's. Hair and smudges on the door glass at Monroe's Chiropractic indicate the two animals also attempted to exit the square through that glass door.

At least one deer went through the front glass at the American Family Insurance office of Chris Harris. The deer continued traveling east, jumping through one of the front windows at the Memphis Mercantile.

"I was coming across the square and I saw the two deer running down the sidewalk," said witness Eric Dunn. "I was pretty innocent until they apparently became startled. I noticed the one deer keep glancing toward the stores as it passed, and finally it just turned and leapt into the window at Harris's."

Dunn, who had just finished helping serve breakfast at the fire station for the after-prom participants, said he thought it was the same deer that then tried to jump through the window at Memphis Mercantile.

Both store fronts have interior walls or other structures close to the front windows, that likely forced the deer back onto the street.

One deer broke the front glass at Coffrin Shoe Store and the other deer went through the front glass door at Ketchum Heating and Cooling. Law enforcement officers on the scene tried to get the animal to exit the building through the back door, but the deer ultimately returned to the front of the store, and after several efforts broke through the front glass to escape and run down Monroe Street.

The last part of the incident was caught on videotape by a witness.

"We were joking about it after the police arrived, that we were happy someone saw this happen," Dunn said. "With it being prom night, the blame could have easily been wrongly attributed to the kids because who is going to believe that two deer did all this unless they saw it."

Harris estimated that damage could be as high as $10,000 for the clean-up and repairs to the buildings.

It wasn't the first time his family has been victim of such an incident. He noted that 15 to 20 years ago, a buck went through a few business fronts in Memphis, including the former Harris Motor Company building.

The incident nearly concluded with a motor vehicle accident. As Harris and his son Trever responded to the scene after receiving a phone call, their trip timed perfectly with the deer's escape from Ketchum's. The deer ran down past Hopkin's Lumber building, the same street on which Harris and his son were driving to the scene, and they actually saw the deer run across the road in front of them, narrowly avoiding hitting it.

Compounding the financial implications of the unusual incident was an accident during the cleanup. Kevin Martin, who was volunteering to help clean up the debris, was seriously injured when he was struck in the chest by a shard of glass that struck the ground and shattered, send a shard into his chest.

According to emergency service volunteers on the scene, he was hospitalized and required surgery for a punctured lung.

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