WESTMINSTER, Md. – A freak accident claimed the life of 42-year-old Westminster man early Thursday morning. An airborne deer struck and killed him while he was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle traveling on Route 97.

According to the Maryland State Police, a woman driving southbound on Maryland Route 97 hit a deer in the road. The force of the collision sent the deer flying into the northbound lanes.

Lindsay Stull, 22, of Sykesville was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe. She collided with the airborne deer. Her passenger, Jason Blair, was hit by the deer. Troopers said Blair was fatally injured.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1.5 million collisions between deer and vehicles happen each year in the United States. Around 150 of those crashes are fatal. 

Most crashes happen around sunrise or sunset and fall is the peak season for deer collisions. Experts advise all drivers to be alert for deer-crossing signs and to remember if you see one deer, there are likely more with it.

They also say not to swerve if there’s a deer in your path. Do your best to slow down and stop but stay in your lane. If you swerve you could hit another vehicle or roll your car.