October 19, 2018 6:00 am
Updated: October 19, 2018 6:33 am

Steinbach family nearly decapitated after slamming into a moose

Sheldon Falk

Falk Nurseries

It was a trip back from Fargo on the night of Oct. 4 that was unlike any other for a Manitoba family.

Steinbach’s Sheldon Falk, along with his son and son-in-law, were traveling along Provincial Road 201, east of Letellier, when a moose appeared in the middle of the road.

They hit the animal with a bang, shearing the windshield wide open.

READ MORE: Fredericton couple wake up to find moose ‘sauntering’ in their backyard

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Falk suffered serious gashes to his face and shoulder, while his son had a hairline fracture to his neck.

All three are expected to fully recover while the vehicle, a Mazda 3, was totaled.

Falk said if he had been in his Ford Edge “It would have been a foot higher and we would have been taken off at the chest.”

He said the Mazda mostly went underneath the moose, taking off the top front half of the ceiling of the car and bent the metal right down over top of the head rests.

Falk told Global News “I don’t look at this as a ‘why me’ or ‘why a moose’ or ‘why a scar on my face’.”

He said he looks more at it as “I’m alive, I’m not decapitated, obviously, and I’m not paralyzed, my son’s alive, my family’s alive, it was a great Thanksgiving weekend.”

Dangerous highway animal

Fort Whyte Centre’s Barrett Miller says motorists may be familiar with how to react to a deer on the highway, but a moose is – quite literally – an entirely different animal.

“They weigh as much as a small car, and all that weight is up high,” he said.

“They’re a sausage on sticks – 1,000 pound sausage on sticks. They are very big animals and can do a lot of damage to vehicles.

“Moose are so big and know they’re so big … and can be territorial. Deer are afraid of just about everything, but moose have very little fear.”

Miller said moose habitats are changing, and Manitobans are spotting the animals in areas of the province, such as the southwest, near Virden, where they’d never been seen before. The key to avoiding a collision, though, is simply driving to conditions.

WATCH: Banff resident catches car licking moose on camera

“In the daytime, if you see a moose, slow right down,” he said. “Don’t expect that it’s going to jump away like a deer. It’s big and territorial. If you’re sitting there in your little Hyundai, it outweighs you. Stop, let it clear.

“At night, drive to conditions. If you’re on a narrow highway, if you can’t see the ditches well, slow down. Going 110 or 120 km/h down the Trans-Canada seems OK, until there’s a sausage on sticks at about 1,000 lbs that you have to brake for, so truly drive to your headlights, drive to conditions.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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