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from The Miami Herald

    Posted at 7:17 a.m. EDT Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Deer crashes into Florida woman's car; passenger dies

NEW BUFFALO, Mich. -- (AP) -- A deer went through the windshield of a sport utility vehicle driven by a Jupiter, Fla., woman, killing a female passenger, police said.

Melissa Jean Stephens, 56, of St. Joseph, Mich., was pronounced dead at the scene, said Trooper Jeff Oudman of the Michigan State Police.

``It's kind of a bizarre case, that's for sure,'' Oudman said.

The accident happened Sunday night on Interstate 94 outside this community in far southwestern Michigan.

Oudman said Amy Walker, 47, of Jupiter, Fla., was driving west as Stephens was talking beside her on a cell phone. Suddenly, ``she looked up and here comes this deer right through the windshield,'' Oudman said.

The deer struck Stephens' chest, killing her. Walker was unhurt.

Walker's vehicle did not have any scratches or marks on the front end to indicate contact with the deer before it smashed through the windshield, Oudman said.

The trooper said the animal may have been hit by another vehicle and propelled through the SUV's windshield, or it could have jumped into the vehicle's path from the shoulder.

The accident remains under investigation.

Copyright 2001 Miami Herald

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