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A Nov. 29, 2012, Humvee crash that paralyzed an airmen was caused by the driver overcorrecting after swerving to avoid a deer on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., the Air Force announced Tuesday.
A group of four airmen, a mobile fire team with the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron, left Malmstrom at about 9:30 a.m. in an up-armored High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle to go to a missile alert facility. After about 45 minutes, the driver of the vehicle spotted deer about 40 to 50 yards away. The vehicle, traveling at about 55 mph, veered to the right and began to leave the road.
The driver attempted to return to the roadway, but overcorrected to the left, and back to the right, forcing the vehicle off the road. The driver tried to steer back onto the road, causing the vehicle to roll clockwise, between two and five times, according to the Air Force investigation.
During the roll, one airman fell out of the rear passenger door and landed behind the Humvee, which came to rest on the driver side.
The three other airmen and others in a trailing vehicle provided first aid for the injured passenger, and one ran to a nearby house to call 911. A helicopter arrived at about 11:05 a.m. and took the injured airman to a nearby hospital.
According to the investigation, three of the airmen said they were wearing their seat belts but could not recall if the injured airman was wearing his. The injured passenger told investigators he did not remember anything after leaving the base that morning, including whether he was wearing his seat belt. An airman who was in a trailing vehicle said the injured airman told her as she treated him that he was wearing his seat belt.
The Humvee was totaled in the crash, at a loss of about $186,000.
The investigation states that the driver of the Humvee was current on training and had driven more than 500 miles in the vehicle. The report did not state that fatigue or any other factors contributed to the crash.