Driver remains in a coma after freak accident Deer may have kicked woman inside car


A west county woman remained in a coma yesterday after being injured last week in a freak accident near West Friendship when her car struck a deer.

"It's a serious condition, but it's not a life-threatening situation," Richard H. Carter said of his wife, Brenda Elizabeth Carter, who has spent the past four days in the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Ms. Carter, 50, may be breathing on her own soon, Mr. Carter said.

"There has been some indication that she responds to stimulus, actually verbal stimulus," he said. "So we go in, and talk to her and touch her. There's some feeling that, that may bring her around."

Ms. Carter was heading west on Route 144 near Triadelphia Road about 10:30 p.m. Thursday on her way home to the Woodmark subdivision off Carroll Mill Road. A deer crossed the path of her Honda Civic and crashed through the windshield, county police said.

The car kept moving with the deer inside, police said, and the deer escaped through a rear window. The car then went down an embankment before stopping.

While inside the car, the deer apparently was kicking and might have knocked Ms. Carter unconscious, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman. Another motorist coming in the opposite direction saw the accident and called police.

At Howard Community College, where Ms. Carter had been a professor and chairwoman of the Learning Centers Division until August, former co-workers yesterday prepared an audio tape to aid in Ms. Carter's recovery.

"The whole college community is extremely upset," said library director Lucy Gardner. She said 15 to 20 people who worked closely with Ms. Carter are recording messages on the tape, to be delivered to Ms. Carter's intensive care unit tomorrow.

"We've been trying to think of things to say to spark a memory or make her laugh," Ms. Gardner said.

Ms. Carter left her post at the college to become director of learning technologies at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore.

Two summers ago, Ms. Carter traveled to New Zealand on a Fulbright Fellowship to help nursing schools develop high-tech education programs. In particular, she helped with the use of interactive video disks she created.

Friends and colleagues said the accident made them especially aware of the danger of deer accidents.

Even in downtown Columbia, the county's burgeoning deer population has created an additional concern for motorists, Ms. Gardner noted.

"When I was leaving the college the other day, there was this great big buck who went out into the roadway," she said. "People need to be very careful."

Sergeant Gardner said collisions involving cars and deers that don't result in serious injury to motorists occur daily.

"Unfortunately, every once and a while we have a serious accident," he said.

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