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Car-deer crash totals sheriff’s patrol car after out-of-town inmate transport
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Oct. 29, 2009) — A decision by county commissioners to purchase only liability coverage on the older sheriff’s deputy patrol cars means Sheriff J.B. King won’t have funds available to replace a vehicle wrecked Wednesday night by a car-deer crash.

However, King said it appears the more expensive equipment on the patrol car — the light bars, radio, and similar items — are probably salvageable even though the 2001 Ford Crown Victoria with more than 200,000 miles will be totaled.

“With both airbags deployed and the front end destroyed, the repair cost greatly exceeds the cost of the vehicle so we are going to have to use it for spare parts,” King said.

The crash happened outside Pulaski County, and while King said that Deputy Holly Wiseman suffered minor injuries for which she was treated and released, state troopers didn’t release a report on the crash. That’s standard for non-injury crashes.

She was stiff and sore following the crash, King said, but otherwise was unhurt.

According to King’s own report, Wiseman was returning from Columbia about 7 p.m. when she struck the deer on U.S. Route 54 in Cole County; she had been in Columbia transporting an inmate to a medical facility there under court order. The inmate had already been dropped off and was not in the patrol car at the time of the crash.

“It was a solid hit,” King said. “The radiator appears to be history and I can’t tell about the engine yet; it might be damaged, it might not be. On the equipment in the car, it looks like the only thing we lost, maybe, was the siren. It’s bent a little bit, but if the electronics still work we can salvage it and the rest of the equipment in the car should be OK.”

No other vehicles or property were damaged, King said, so the county’s insurance company shouldn’t have to pay a liability claim.

“I don’t believe the deer’s family is going to sue,” King said.

Long-distance transports of inmates have become routine in Pulaski County, and while vehicles have sometimes broken down while transporting inmates, King said he can’t remember another case of a patrol car crashing while going to or returning from an inmate transport.

“This is a typical example of what can happen. Our officers are all over Missouri at all hours of the day and night on trips most people would not think would happen,” King said. “This could have happened at any time and for the last several years we are lucky this has not happened.”

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