POLAND — A Lewiston man was hospitalized Wednesday with the kind of injury very few will experience — a deer ran into him while he was riding his bicycle along Tiger Hill Road.

It happened to Dave Story, who on Thursday was recovering after surgery at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. A riding companion said the blow from the doe broke Story’s leg.

He also said it was the kind of surreal sight nobody could have foreseen.

“The deer just plowed into the side of him,” said Richard Marchessault, one of four men who were riding with Story Wednesday night. “It was bizarre. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Who has? An Androscoggin County Sheriff’s deputy with decades of experience said he had never heard of such a thing.

The freak crash occurred as the group from the Maine Cycling Club was enjoying an A ride — at higher speeds than a casual ride — trekking through Poland.

“We had just crested the top of Tiger Hill and were heading down toward the hard left turn,” Marchessault said. “The five of us were traveling at 28 mph all wheel-to-wheel.”

Most of the men have ridden together many times. They were prepared for almost anything.

Almost.

“All of a sudden, I noticed some leaves moving on the left side of the road and then I saw a charging deer coming at me out of the woods at full speed,” Marchessault wrote in an excited and bewildered narrative of the event. “I just got through and the deer missed my back wheel but she crashed right into Dave, who hit his brakes as soon as he saw her but couldn’t do anything about it.

“I knew he was going to crash when I saw how close the deer came to me,” Marchessault wrote. “Sure enough I looked back and I saw him colliding with the deer as he and the deer went off the road together.”

The deer ran off. Story ended up in a gully on the right side of the road. Marchessault said his friend was immediately and clearly in pain.

“Within seconds he was screaming ‘I broke my leg! I can feel it'” Marchessault said.

The group called for help.

Allan Lobozzo, one of the riders, attempted to calm Story while Poland Rescue was on the way.

“There wasn’t much we could do for him but reassure him that help was on the way,” Lobozzo said. “In the short term, it was terrible. He was in excruciating pain. But we knew he didn’t have any head injuries, or neck or back. It could have been a lot worse.”

Story and the rest of the riders were wearing helmets.

Lobozzo said Story did not strike any of the trees or utility poles in the area, which could have compounded his injuries. He also credited a group of neighbors who came out with wet towels and ice packs and who helped the remaining riders to retrieve Story’s bike.

“They were the nicest, most helpful people you could ask for,” Lobozzo said.

According to Marchessault, Story broke two bones in his lower leg and underwent surgery Wednesday night.

Lobozzo, like everybody else, said he had never seen, heard or even thought about the possibility of a deer running into the side of a bicycle.

“It was shocking at the time,” he said. “A lot of us, we’ve been riding a long time and we’ve never heard of something like this. It was very strange.”

Both Marchessault and Lobozzo predict that Story will savor the unique tale he has to tell once he has recovered from his injuries.

But maybe not right away.

“Give it about a week and he’ll be smiling,” Lobozzo said. “He’s not smiling right now.”


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