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updated: 6/4/2014 12:38 PM

Family in bizarre deer episode given new minivan

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  • Heidi Conner of West Dundee got a new Honda minivan on Tuesday morning. Last week, a deer plunged though the windshield of her old vehicle, at right.

       Heidi Conner of West Dundee got a new Honda minivan on Tuesday morning. Last week, a deer plunged though the windshield of her old vehicle, at right.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Heidi Conner outside the minivan that was destroyed when a doe crashed through the windshield.

       Heidi Conner outside the minivan that was destroyed when a doe crashed through the windshield.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Mom describes deer hitting her

 
 

Within moments of the freak collision, Heidi Conner found comfort.

First in the good Samaritan who pulled over and tried to console the shaken woman and her children.

Then in the Illinois State trooper who handed her daughter a teddy bear.

On Tuesday -- a little over a week after a deer leapt off the Route 72 overpass and crashed through the windshield of her minivan on I-90 below -- Conner received another gift, this one wrapped in a giant bow.

"I'm just amazed," the West Dundee mom said of her new ride. "I'm so blessed."

Bob Rohrman Auto Group donated a gray 2005 Honda Odyssey to the Connor family. The family's liability insurance would not cover the cost of replacing their minivan -- destroyed by the impact of the full-grown deer.

Ryan Rohrman, general manager of the company's Schaumburg Honda Automobiles, helped deliver the car, valued at $15,000, to Conner's home.

"We're just very fortunate that we could help the Conner family out," Rohrman said. "We're happy to be a part of it."

The free van relieves a major headache for the mom and her five children, left without a way of getting around during the day.

"This was huge for us," said Conner, who home-schools her kids.

Before the accident, the family already planned to replace a 1996 Toyota her husband drives to his job at a cellphone carrier. That car has logged more than 200,000 miles and "barely survived" the winter, Conner said.

The 37-year-old and four of her kids dodged serious injuries when the doe jumped off the Route 72 overpass and into the minivan traveling roughly 70 miles per hour near Hoffman Estates.

The doe clipped Conner's right side, for which she needs physical therapy for her arm and more checkups.

Her 13-year-old son in the front passenger's seat was cut by the shattered windshield.

If the animal had landed only inches to the left, emergency room doctors told Conner, she would have been killed or at least lost control of the car.

"I don't put anything past God at this point," Conner said.

She and her kids hopped inside their new van for their first spin Tuesday morning. Freshly out of an arm sling, Conner felt some lingering pain steering the new Honda, but everyone enjoyed the ride.

"They like this van better than the other one," Conner said.

Neighbors continue to cook breakfasts and dinners. And Mike Graham, village clerk of downstate Rantoul, pitched in with a $500 check.

That support, Conner said, helps her recover.

"This is a happy ending for something like this," she said.

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