Driver crashes into herd of elk while on highway

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX - When you look at what is left of Mark McElvain's car, it is incredible to think he walked away with barely a scratch. The seven elk he hit were not as lucky.

"How can someone walk away from this?" asks McElvain's wife, Toni. "I don't understand."

It is a question that has come up often since McElvain's accident. A crash which can only be described one way. "I'm just a walking miracle, I think."

An explanation that seems plausible, considering the pictures of what is left after McElvain drove straight into seven elk as he was heading to Payson Monday morning.

McElvain explains, "I was just putting it into cruise at 65 and just out of nowhere this elk was on my windshield, and all I remember is a big boom."

Trapped behind a wall of shattered glass and inflated airbags, McElvain was able to slither his was out of the car through the passenger door. The remains of the elk were difficult to look at, but McElvain was unharmed aside from a few scratches and burns from the airbag.

"Without some help from above I'd probably be planning a funeral right now," Toni said.

Department of Public Safety representatives say the seven-elk pile-up is one of the most shocking accidents they have seen.

"You can fix a car, but you can't replace these beautiful animals, or my man," Toni said.

On the same day as McElvain's collision, there were four other auto accidents involving elk or deer along Highway 260 between Payson and Heber.

Arizona Department of Game and Fish now says they are working with transportation officials to come up with strategies on how to minimize wildlife car accidents.