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Jogger hit by deer

DULUTH, Minn. -- Sara Betzler was jogging on Sunday morning when she was hit by a flying deer.

She didn't know it was a deer at first. Betzler, 30, was on Minnesota Highway 61 about a mile from home, jogging south on the northbound shoulder of the road in falling snow when she was flung into the ditch. It was sometime between 9:30 and 10 a.m.

"All of a sudden I was just in the ditch, and I didn't know why," Betzler said Wednesday. "I jumped up on my feet, and I looked to my right and the truck was driving off; and it drove off so fast that I could not catch the license plate number. When I looked over to my left, there was a dead deer lying there, and that's when I realized, oh my gosh, I was hit by a deer and not by a car."

Betzler had nearly finished a route of about 5½ miles that she jogs on weekends while her husband, Jason, is home to stay with their children, ages 2 and 4. She called her husband, who asked if he should come and get her. She felt pain in her right shoulder and arm and two toes, but said she could walk home. She called 911 to report the incident, hoping someone might spot the southbound red Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that hit the deer. She's convinced the driver saw what happened.

"I remember trying to wave at that truck a little bit to say, 'Hey, you know, I was here, come help me,' but ... they just kept on driving," Betzler said, later adding: "That road there is so wide that there's no way he could have missed (seeing) me. He had to have seen me for about a half-mile at least, if not a mile. That's how straight and wide it is right there."

Betzler knows Lino CQ and Nancy Rauzi CQ , who live at that spot. Nancy Rauzi confirmed Betzler's account about the road. "It's a straight stretch of road ... and people do pick up a little speed," she said.

If the driver did see what happened, it was a criminal offense not to stop, said Sgt. Mark Baker, spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol.

"They need to stop, they need to report it, and they need to render whatever aid they can," Baker said. "There could be criminal charges, especially in a personal injury case."

But outside of Betzler and the driver, there may be no witnesses.

"Neither one of us saw anything," Nancy Rauzi said. "All I remember is seeing the (dead) deer when I was going to church."

Betzler was diagnosed with whiplash to her neck and bruising on her knees, hips and right arm.

Lundy writes for the Duluth News Tribune, which is owned by

Forum Communications Co.