ELY— A 20-year-old college student here is facing an $1,800 fine after he used his pickup to run down three deer along Ely’s Central Av., leaving them partially paralyzed and struggling …
ELY— A 20-year-old college student here is facing an $1,800 fine after he used his pickup to run down three deer along Ely’s Central Av., leaving them partially paralyzed and struggling on the street. All three animals were eventually put down by retired Ely police officer John Saw.
Casey Meadows, a Madison, South Dakota resident, was driving his vehicle along the road on the south edge of Ely in the late afternoon on Tuesday, March 21, when he spotted three deer on the road. High banks of snow on either side of the road prevented the deer from easily escaping the roadway, which made them an easy target for Meadows, who used his truck to intentionally maim the animals before continuing on his way.
Law enforcement was quickly alerted to the situation as subsequent drivers witnessed the injured deer crawling along the road. “It was not a pretty scene,” said Saw, who was driving by shortly after Meadows struck the deer. He said passersby were clearly upset and some started crying at the sight.
Social media exploded in the wake of the incident and that led to the identification of a passenger in the vehicle by the next day. The passenger later identified Meadows, a natural resources technician student at Vermilion Community College, as the driver.
DNR Conservation Officer Anthony Bermel, along with Ely police and a deputy from the St. Louis County Sheriff’s office, interviewed Meadows at his Ely residence, which is where he acknowledged his intent and said that he had assumed the animals would die quickly. Meadows drives a pickup truck with an attached heavy-duty grill, which prevented damage to his vehicle as a result of striking the deer.
“I’ve never had a case like this in my 12 years on the job,” said Bermel, who acknowledged the outrage that played out on social media in the wake of the incident. “People have a right to be upset,” he said. “He [Meadows] didn’t really have an excuse. It was an opportunistic thing and for whatever reason he thought it would be fun.”
Meadows has now been charged with a violation on Minn. Stat. 97B.091, which prohibits anyone from using a vehicle to chase or run down wild animals, and he faces a restitution payment of $500 per animal along with a $300 fine, according to Bermel.
Bermel acknowledged that the relatively light penalty had been criticized but he noted that law enforcement has to follow existing statutes and the penalties that the laws spell out, regardless of the outrage that the public might feel over someone’s actions.
The Timberjay sought more information about Meadows’ status in Ely, but access to his social media accounts has been suspended and online links connecting him to the college are no longer operative.