Kennett motorist kills 3 deer in one accident

Photo by Fran Maye Sue Clayton of Kennett stands near her rental vehicle. Clayton's car sustained $8,000 in damage after she struck and killed three deer on Route 926. With her cell phone dead, she tried to wave down passing motorists, but it took some time before someone finally stopped to offer her aid.

Sue Clayton has had bad weeks before, but nothing to compare with the week she had recently.

Despite knowing that deer frequently cross Route 926, the Kennett woman decided to take it home after attending an event earlier this month. It was just after 6 p.m., and as she approached Pete’s Produce in Westtown, traveling west, her worst fear came true.

Deer darted into the path of her Honda CRV.

“It was dark, and I didn’t see the deer and they jumped over a fence and onto the road,” Clayton said.


Clayton had no time to react. Her SUV hit not one, not two, but three deer.

The impact crushed the front of her vehicle, but Clayton was unharmed. She looked back about 50 yards and saw the three deer she hit on the side of the road. They were all dead.

So Clayton reached for her phone to call for help, but she realized her cell phone was dead.

With the temperature in the teens, Clayton knew she needed assistance quickly. So she began to wave down passing motorists. Only problem was, no one stopped.

“I was waving my hands in the middle of the road and no one would stop,” Clayton said. “About 30 people passed me by. I was waving both hands, no one would stop.”

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity to Clayton, a woman and her teen-age son stopped. Clayton asked her to call 911, and Westtown-East Goshen police promptly responded.

“My phone died, I couldn’t do anything,” Clayton said. “I’m going to find out the name of the person who stopped.”

Clayton is remorseful she took Route 926 in the dark.

“I said to myself I shouldn’t take Route 926, but I did,” she said. “The moral is to always call 911 when you see an accident. Somebody who passed should have called.”

Lt. William Cahill of the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department, said Clayton was more than a mile from a pay phone.

“Especially in cold weather, we recommend motorists drive with charged cell phone, “ Cahill said. “Also, motorists should have a power cord to plug in the cigarette lighter to charge the cell phone.”

Cahill said it’s important for motorists to keep a flag that reads “Need Assistance.”

“Even shoe polish works where you can write on the window that you need help,” he said.

Clayton’s SUV sustained more than $8,000 in damage from the accident.

But that was just the start of her troubles. Two days later, an ice storm killed the power at her house off Old Kennett Road for a week.

“We were last on the grid to get power restored because five transformers needed to be fixed,” she said.

Clayton is the widow of former WIP radio personality Dick Clayton, who died in 1998. She is urging motorists who pass by an accident to at least call 911 even if they don’t stop.

“You survive a lot of things, and that’s what makes life interesting,” she said.

About the Author

Fran Maye

Fran Maye is an award-winning journalist and a graduate of Shippensburg University. He and his wife Marianne live in East Marlborough. He enjoys golf and is a 4.0 tennis player. Reach the author at or follow Fran on Twitter: @kennettpaper.