A deer, a roll and a seat belt. A Survivor’s tale.
Kierra Muehler had plans Sunday, Sept. 24, to attend a leadership retreat with friends in Lander. The Central Wyoming College student climbed into her car, buckled her seat belt, set her cell phone on the seat beside her, and left her home on the north edge of Riverton.
“The next thing I remember is being hit with the airbag and hanging upside down in my car,” Muehler remembers. “I was told that I somehow unbuckled my seat belt and climbed out of the back window of my car. The next thing I remember I was in an ambulance with my mom heading to the hospital.”
Wyoming Highway Patrol Eli Miller said Muehler’s vehicle was traveling south on Wyoming 789 when a deer walked into the roadway. “The driver panicked and turned the car to the right. The car over-corrected and began to slide out of control,” Miller wrote in his report. “The driver missed the deer. The vehicle slid off the road to the right, rolling driver’s side first. The vehicle rolled over and came to a stop on its top.”
Miller’s crash report verifies that Muehler was wearing her seat belt.
Muehler was taken by ambulance to SageWest Health Care in Riverton. She was treated and released several hours later with an assortment of bumps and bruises.
Muehler remembers speaking to the investigating officers. “They were very surprised I made it out of the car alive, let alone without any broken bones,” she says. “I know the main reason for me being alive today is the fact that I was wearing my seat belt.”
Muehler says she always wears her seat belt. “My parents always made sure I was wearing my seat belt when I was little, and it just became a habit for me. It’s the first thing I do when I get in my car.”
Passengers who ride with Muehler are required to wear their seat belts, too. “A lot of my friends get annoyed when I tell them to put on their seat belts. They know I won’t move the car unless they are wearing them,” she says.
Muehler offers advice about seat belt use.
“Wearing your seat belt is so important. Looking at the pictures of my car and seeing how it was after it flipped makes me so grateful to have been wearing my seat belt,” she says.
Muehler knows people who don’t wear their seat belts because they believe they won’t ever be involved in a crash.
“You never know when it’s going to happen, so you should always try to be prepared. Taking five seconds to put on your seat belt can end up saving your life,” she says.