Colfax driver suffers major injuries after swerving to avoid deer on I-80

Four animals struck in Auburn area over the weekend
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A Colfax woman suffered major injuries Monday when her car was broadsided after swerving to avoid a deer on Interstate 80. Officer David Martinez of the Auburn California Highway Patrol Office said the woman was westbound from Colfax at about 5:30 a.m. when she swerved, spun out and hit the back of her car into the center divide. The woman was identified as Robyn J. Berkler, 42, of Colfax. Her 2002 Chevrolet Impala was struck by a Toyota pickup while stopped in the westbound lane. The driver of the other vehicle, Jarrett A. Flink, 30, of Colfax, was uninjured. Both vehicles sustained extensive damage. Martinez said that dealing with deer in the road is a dilemma for drivers. They can choose to hit the animal and risk having it go through the windshield or they can try to maneuver around it and – like Berkler – face losing control of their vehicle. “With small animals, we advise to keep going – unless you have a chance to make a maneuver but with deer, it’s a tough one,” Martinez said. “Weight is a factor with larger animals. Deer can total your car.” In fact, three Auburn Highway Patrol vehicles were damaged last year in run-ins with deer, he said. In Monday’s accident, the deer was nowhere to be found afterward, having apparently escaped back into the woods. “Deer and other animals are definitely coming out more and you want to be driving more alert,” Martinez said. The accident occurred just east of the Weimar overpass. In Auburn, at least four deer were picked up by Caltrans and city Public Works Department crews on Monday after weekend run-ins with motor vehicles. Three were within city limits on Auburn Folsom Road and a fourth was on Interstate 80, near the Ophir exit. Another collision was reported just after 7 a.m. Monday at Highway 174 and Rattlesnake Road in Nevada County. Kyle Orr, state Department of Fish and Game spokesman, said that deer-automobile problems are year-round. “The main thing for people to be aware of is that deer are active at night and around daybreak,” Orr said.