Though their morning commute began like any other for the passengers of Vanpool 5817, it certainly didn’t end that way. All aboard last November 16th were thankful that Shelia Lassiter was behind the wheel as she calmly and safely moved the vehicle off the road after a deer crashed through her windshield.
Today, GoTriangle General Manager Jeff Mann presented Lassiter, a state employee, with the GoTriangle “Above and Beyond” Award, commending her sound judgment and composure. “This was an unexpected and extremely stressful incident, but Shelia’s quick thinking led to a safe outcome,” Mann said. “We applaud Sheila’s response, as she not only saved herself and her passengers, but also protected the lives of commuters in surrounding vehicles.”
At approximately 6:40 A.M., Lassiter and two passengers were travelling westbound on I-40 when a deer attempted to leap across the road near Jones Sausage Road, colliding with and shattering the van’s windshield. As the deer came through the windshield and landed inside the vehicle, Lassiter maintained control and pulled over without further incident.
All three passengers were transported to WakeMed Garner Healthplex, where one was treated for minor injuries.
In a letter of recognition, Raleigh Police Department Senior Officer V. M. Doxbeck praised Lassiter and her lifesaving response. “Your actions are duly recognized and appreciated,” he said, “and you are commended for maintaining composure and good decision-making while in an extreme stress situation and keeping those around you safe and protected.”
Vanpooling is part of GoTriangle’s GoTogether campaign that encourages commuters to share their ride and expenses, reducing individual costs, environmental impacts, and congestion on the roads. Similar to a traditional carpools, GoTriangle provides the vehicle, insurance, and maintenance for a low monthly fare.
GoTriangle offers safe, reliable, and easy-to-use travel choices including bus, bike, walking, carpool, and vanpool.