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Pender County, NC (WWAY) — One person is dead and two others injured after a deer ran into traffic on NC 53 last night.

All it took was one deer, to hit two cars and kill 43-year old Charles Foelsch while driving with his wife Sunday night.

According to Highway Patrol, a couple was driving toward Jacksonville on NC 53, when a deer ran into the road and hit them. The deer then catapulted off the couple’s car, and into Foelsch’s windshield, while driving the opposite way. After running off the road into a tree, Foelsch died at the scene.

Pender and Burgaw emergency crews received the call just after 9 p.m.

Foelsch’s boss, Bill Tarplee, who owns Tideline Marine in Jacksonville, says he saw Foelsch just hours before.

“I was pretty shocked. Out of the clear blue, this is just a terrible thing,” Tarplee said. “He apparently left, went home, got his wife and went to look at a car they were thinking about buying.”

Car accidents caused by deer are common in Pender County, most happening in the peak season, which runs from September to January. However, this was out of the ordinary.

“We do have a lot of deer wrecks in Pender County, but to this extreme-this doesn’t happen a lot,” says Highway Patrol Sgt. M.L. Collier.

Foelsch’s wife and the passenger of the other car were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries.

Tarplee says Foelsch will be sorely missed.

“He was a family guy,” Tarplee said. “He was very proud of his children and his wife and just one of the nicest people that you would ever meet.”

Tarplee is now collecting money to help the Foelsch family. You can donate at the Tideline Marine in Jacksonville, or you call the store for more information at (910) 455-2979.

Comment on this Story

  • guesty

    But fortunately deer don’t do the squirrel dance of back and forth on the roadways.

  • Guest454344

    the DOT does that. So it isn’t the county that dropped the ball if one has been dropped. With virtually no winter, an early spring and a tight state budget, they’re probably desperately trying to catch up. Unfortunately, deer don’t always stand on the side of the road waiting to be seen. They often bolt across the road at full gallop trying to get from one set of woods to the other. They’re beautiful, majestic animals but they have the road crossing skills of a opossum.


    Pender county has really dropped the ball this year! i drive at night and the high grass is dangerous and at some places up to stop signs.

    with the high population of deer WHY IS THIS BEING ALLOWED?

    Shame on pender county and the state if the grass prevented the drivers from seeing the deer.

    My deepest sympathies to the families!

  • Guest270

    While this certainly was a tragedy and we will likely never know if it could have been avoided through any means, I don’t think the county and state deserve that comment. In case you haven’t noticed this year has been abnormally warm and this fact combined with the recent rains has the grass growing quite a bit faster than normal. The higher grass probably slows down the mowing equipement which has started on the same schedule as years past. Just some food for thought.

  • Guest1972

    I understand what you’re saying about the grass, but I have driven Hwy 53 between Burgaw and Jacksonville many times. The deer are terrible along that stretch, high grass or not. If a deer decides to bolt, there’s not much reaction time, especially when it’s dark.

  • taxpayer

    budget cuts. Not enough money to mow the roadsides.

  • John

    Im getting sick and tired of people in todays world always looking to put blame on some. Wake the hell up dude, its a deer. I hit a deer one evening myself, the grass was mowed. This big buck came from a golf coarse, jumped a drainage ditch and continued across the road hitting my truck. Lucky for me, it only took out the front end. Only God nows when our time is up on this planet, so lets stop placing blame.

  • Guest9999

    I don’t know who is responsible for keeping the grass cut along the highways, the county or the state but it is horrible this year! I thought about this very thing this morning on the way to work! When the grass is cut it definately gives you a better opportunity to see the deer before they bolt. I live in Pender County and I’ve never seen a deer randomly bolting out of the woods into traffic. It’s always been them standing on the side of the highways eating grass then something spooks them and they bolt! with the extremely tall grass right now and with their heads down eating you can’t see them until it’s too late. Thoughts and prayers for the family.

  • SurfCityTom

    they never cut the entitlement programs funding. Are you certain about your math?

  • taxpayer

    you and I both know it’s a matter of prioritizing expenditures. Entitlements generate votes…mowing doesn’t.

  • Guest9999

    just saying the grass on the sides of highways is way tall this year. Calm down there sparky! Hope your day is a wonderful one…

  • Guest54726

    A Local man was involved in a Motorcycle vs Deer accident on February 2nd. He has encountered 4 surgeries and in on the road to recovery.. He has no income coming in and has a high insurance deductible, ($8,000) There will be a Benefit on May 26th from 10-4. Chicken Dinner, Bike Show, face painting, Live music by Mystic River, Bouncy house and more. Tickets $7.00 per plate. It will be held at Northside Baptist Church in Wilmington. For more info email the craigslist email.

  • Amber


    Im getting sick and tired of

    Submitted by John Tue, 05/22/2012 – 9:32am.

    Basically he was part of my family an still is. You really did not have to say what you said the way you did like you have no sympathy what so ever about what happened to him.The family is taking it hard. He was a great man he left behind a wife an 3 young kids. Next time I think you should think before you say anything. How would you feel if this happened to someone in your family an you seen a post like what you posted. R.I.P Charles you will be missed. You will always always be in our hearts.

    I am sorry if someone else gets mad about what I said but he is family an people need to think about what they say before they post something on a website.

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve know Charles and his family for 25 years. He was like a big brother to me. Can we please not place blame and just remember this WONDERFUL man and his family.


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