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Motorcyclist Injured Avoiding Deer on Highway 97 / Safety Reminders about Wildlife on or near Highways
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
A La Pine-area woman was seriously injured Wednesday when she lost control of her motorcycle trying to avoid a deer crossing Highway 97 about one mile south of the Paulina Lake Junction in central Oregon.
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant Eric Brown, on June 25, 2008 at approximately 11:48 a.m., DENISE HATCH, age 53, from La Piine, was operating a 1992 Harley Davidson motorcycle southbound on Highway 97 near milepost 162. According to witnesses a deer ran across the road from west to east causing HATCH to react by putting her motorcycle into a skid for several feet before being laid onto its side. The motorcycle slid approximately 21 feet before coming to a stop on the shoulder.
HATCH, who is described as a very experience motorcyclist, was ejected from the motorcycle. It is believed her half-shell helmet came off her head while sliding on the asphalt.

HATCH was transported by Air Life to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with non-life threatening injuries.
Highway 97 was closed about 30 minutes.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, La Pine Fire Department, and ODOT assisted at the scene.
The Oregon State Police and ODOT would like to remind all drivers of the possible dangers associated with animals on or near our highways. The following driving tips are offered as it relates to animal encounters on or near the highway:

  • Be attentive at all times, especially sunset to sunrise for any potential hazard on or near the highway.
  • When driving in areas that have special signs indicating the possible presence of animals/wildlife use extra caution because these signs are posted for a reason.
  • Remember that the presence of any type of animal/wildlife could also mean that others are nearby.
  • When you see an animal/wildlife near or on the roadway, reduce your speed and try to stay in your lane. Many serious crashes are the result of drivers swerving to avoid wildlife or other obstacles and they crash into another vehicle or lose control of their own vehicle.
  • When driving a passenger vehicle, always wear your safety belt because any collision could result in serious injuries.