College Student Who Ran Over Deer for Laughs Could Face Jail Time

Although he was originally issued a single citation, public outcry led prosecutors to tack on additional charges
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deer hit and run minnesota

One of the crippled deer that was hit and left for dead on March 21. Courtesy of Minnesota DNR / The Ely Echo

A 20-year-old college student in Ely, Minnesota faces serious consequences after admitting to authorities that he intentionally ran over three whitetail deer with his truck just for kicks. Casey Meadows, 20, originally received a single citation and restitution fines totaling $1,500 for the deer he intentionally hit on March 21. All three deer were mortally injured in the collision and had to be euthanized, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

As word of the disturbing incident spread through the local community, however, many residents demanded that Meadows face stiffer penalties. Responding to this public outcry, county prosecutors decided to tack on additional charges earlier this week. They charged Meadows with three misdemeanors for using a motor vehicle to chase wild animals. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Meadows’ arraignment is scheduled for May 12.

A Disturbing Hit-and-Run

The hit-and-run took place inside Ely city limits on the evening of March 21. According to a criminal complaint filed in St. Louis County Court, which includes a witness report, Meadows was driving down Central Avenue with friends when they spotted three deer in the northbound lane. Meadows then accelerated toward the deer, which were confined by snowbanks on either side of the road. His blue Toyota Tundra hit all three animals from behind, breaking their legs but not killing them.

“Defendant admitted he intentionally hit the deer,” the complaint reads. “Defendant said he and his friends thought it was funny at the time but feel bad about the situation now.”

The complaint goes on to explain that Meadows never slowed down and kept driving, assuming he had killed the deer. The motorist who witnessed the collision notified authorities immediately, and police questioned Meadows at his home later that evening.  

That same night, former Ely police chief John Saw was driving home with his wife when he saw the three crippled deer scattered across the roadway. Saw pulled over and used his firearm to put the animals out of their misery, the Star Tribune reports.

“In 30 years of law enforcement, I never came across something this senseless,” Saw told reporters. “My wife told me later she had a hard time sleeping.”

Public Outcry Leads to Stiffer Penalties

MDNR conservation officer Anthony Bermel led the investigation, and the agency originally issued Meadows a single citation for a petty misdemeanor—essentially a pricey speeding ticket that he could have paid off in the mail. However, as word spread on social media and in local news outlets, many demanded that county prosecutors push for stiffer penalties.

Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Amber Pederson responded this week by tacking on two additional misdemeanor charges, according to the Star Tribune. Meadows is now being charged with a misdemeanor for each deer that he ran over.

“I certainly understand the public on this one,” said Bermel. “The deer [here] have had such a difficult winter. They basically make it through, just to get mowed over.”

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Former police chief John Saw was one of many Ely locals who wanted to see stiffer penalties for Meadows. As he pointed out in a social media post, the fact that Meadows was studying to be a natural resources technician at Vermillion Community College made the heinous act even more disturbing.

“Real men and sportsmen do not act like this,” Saw wrote. “This suspect can be assured that he will never get a job as a Conservation Officer after his actions which he committed this night. I’m glad that so many people in our community spoke up and stated how they felt.”