A Coeur d'Alene couple are grateful to be alive after their vehicle struck a bull moose Tuesday on Interstate 90.
Melinda Messenger was behind the wheel, and her husband, Steve Messenger, was in the passenger seat when their Mini Cooper collided with the animal as they were traveling through Kingston at 9 p.m., on their way home to Coeur d'Alene.
"He was immediately in front of me, just standing there," Melinda said. "Then there was the crash, the explosion. That was all I remembered until I got to the hospital."
The front end of the little car knocked the animal's legs from under it, Steve said. The impact blew out the car's windows.
The husband and wife were both knocked unconscious.
"Thank God we were in the Mini," Steve said. "The officer said if we were in our SUV, instead of hitting the front of the roof, the bull moose would have gone through the windshield."
Teresa Baker, spokeswoman for Idaho State Police, said the roughly 1,000-pound moose rolled on top of the car, crushing the roof down into the vehicle.
Melinda had to be extricated from the wreckage. She is able to recall brief moments of consciousness while she was trapped in the car. She saw the deployed air bags, the broken glass and twisted metal.
"I was covered in moose fur and moose dung," she said.
The excrement covered her glasses, causing her to think she was blind.
The pair didn't escape without injury. They both had concussions. Melinda has a neck strain and her face is peppered with small cuts.
Steve suffered a head injury. The roof crushed onto him, cutting into his scalp.
"But it could have been so much worse. We're just doing great, praise the Lord," Melinda said.
They're on the mend at home.
The moose wasn't so lucky. The ISP spokeswoman said someone in the area was able to salvage about 700 pounds of moose meat from the animal's carcass.
Melinda said she and Steve went online and researched bull moose collisions.
"There are not too many people who survive," Melinda said.
She said they bought the Mini Cooper Clubman because BMW, the car's manufacturer, touts the Mini's safety features.
"We're going to write a letter and let them know they're absolutely right," Melinda said.
Steve and Melinda Messenger were injured in an accident on Interstate-90 Tuesday night when the Mini Cooper the couple was driving collided with a 1,000-pound bull moose. An Idaho State Police trooper attributed their survival to the compact size of the car, stating if they were in a larger vehicle, the animal would have crashed through the windshield rather than landing on the top of the vehicle as it did.