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Motorist who hit deer is killed when pickup slams into his SUV in St. Charles County

Motorist who hit deer is killed when pickup slams into his SUV in St. Charles County


UPDATED at 2 p.m. Wednesday with background on the man who died, other details.

ST. CHARLES COUNTY — A motorist who stopped his SUV on Highway 364 after hitting a deer was killed Tuesday night when a pickup truck slammed into the back of his vehicle, authorities said.

The Missouri Highway Patrol identified the man who died as Ronald M. Walker, 51, of the St. Louis area.

Walker was a boys basketball and baseball coach at Metro Academic and Classical High School in St. Louis, the school said. He was named basketball Coach of the Year in the Public High League, small division, in 2019.

Walker was in his third year as a baseball coach and fourth year as basketball coach, Metro Principal Steven Lawler said.

The 2019 award came in just his second year as coach of the basketball team.

“He was dedicated to the program and spent all his time and energy trying to make the basketball program better,” Lawler said.

In addition to coaching, Walker was a substitute teacher at Metro.

Walker was driving a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox east on the highway just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when he struck the deer near Heritage Crossing. He stopped in the left lane of the highway, the patrol said.

The deer was still on the road when the eastbound pickup swerved to avoid the animal. The pickup then hit the back of Walker’s vehicle.

Walker, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at a hospital.

Jared S. Holtman of St. Charles, the driver of the pickup, and Holtman’s passenger, James A. Kramer of Ballwin, suffered minor injuries. They were wearing seat belts, the patrol said.

Statistics kept by the Missouri Highway Patrol show that 4,320 traffic crashes in 2019 involved a vehicle hitting a deer. (The patrol said 2019 is the most recent year for which statistics are available.) Nine people died in those crashes, and 449 people were hurt.

Most “deer strikes” occur in November during hunting season, between 6 and 7 a.m. and 6 and 7 p.m., the patrol said.

Patrol Cpl. Juston Wheetley said crash-reconstruction investigators are still trying to determine various elements of the crash. Wheetley said he didn’t know if Walker’s car was disabled after hitting the deer or if he had put his car’s flashers on before he was rear-ended.

Wheetley cautioned that motorists who strike a deer should stay in their vehicle with a seat belt on and move the vehicle to the shoulder, if possible.

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