Elderly Driver Convinced He Struck a Deer Instead of Killing a Woman Will Not Face Charges

An 82-year-old driver in western Michigan who believed he struck and killed a deer but in reality killed a woman will not face charges for leaving the scene, the Associated Press reported.

Page Stokes, 32, was struck at night while crossing the street to get to a store. Her body wasn't found until the next morning.

The man had called 911 to report the collision.

"I hit a deer. (It) jumped in front of my car... I'll go back there and then move him out of the road... because I left him there, you know," the man said, according to the call obtained by WOOD-TV.

The driver returned to the Kentwood neighborhood to retrieve a dead deer and put it in the trunk of his Lincoln MKZ. He later took his car to the repair shop, passing by the crash scene where police were on site.

Police found the car at a repair shop with a deer in the trunk. The officer said the deer did not look big enough to cause that kind of damage the vehicle had including a crumpled front passenger side bumper and a partially shattered windshield, WOOD-TV reported.

"The deer was very small, 46 lbs and just had some blood coming from its nose and ears. It was already bloated and smelled badly so (it had) been dead for a few days," the report reads.

Stoke's DNA was found on the vehicle.

"It's kind of too weird to be true almost, but apparently it is true," Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker told WOOD-TV.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Police Tape, Crime
An 82-year-old driver in western Michigan who believed he struck and killed a deer but in reality killed a woman will not face charges for leaving the scene, the Associated Press reported. Above, tape cordons off the scene of a shooting in the Ogontz section of Philadelphia, August 15, 2019. Matt Rourke/AP Photo

"He's an elderly gentleman, over 80 years old, so there's nothing in his record to make us think he's some sort of criminal mastermind to think that quickly and react as he did," Becker said.

The incident occurred in a Grand Rapids suburb in September 2020.

"We have to show he left the scene knowing, or at least having a pretty good idea, that he hit a person, not a deer," Becker said. "Unfortunately, all the evidence shows is that he really truly believed he'd hit a deer."

The man and his wife declined to speak to the TV station.

Stokes' family is considering a civil lawsuit against the driver.

"Page was a loving daughter," her mother, Pam Strickland, said. "She loved life. She loved her children. She loved her nieces and nephews. There was nothing she wouldn't do."