A Kentwood man called 911 to report he hit a deer with his car when he hit a woman and killed her. Prosecutor says the man will not face criminal charges.

An 82-year-old man had been playing cards with some friends. The man and the men he was playing cards with said he only had one drink and was not intoxicated when he left in his car.

Shortly after leaving the card game, the 82-year-old man called 911 at 9:36 p.m. on September 23, 2020. According to WOOD, the man said "I hit a deer (it) jumped in front of my car. I'm by 32nd Street between Breton and Kalamazoo." The man also mentioned he drove to a friend's house to use his phone to call 911.

The 911 dispatcher told the man that the police do not respond to car-deer collisions. WOOD reported the man's response to the dispatcher, "I'll go back there and then move him out of the road...because I left him there, you know. I don't want it to go to waste." The driver did point out to the dispatcher there was meat from the deer stuck to his vehicle.

The story took a turn on September 24 when a woman's body was found in someone's front yard around 7:30 a.m. on 32 Street west of Breton Road in Kentwood. In the same area, the man claimed he hit a deer with his car.

The woman turned out to be a 32-year-old mother of two by the name of Page Stokes. Stokes was crossing the street around 9:30 September 23, 2020, when she never returned home. That is when her family began searching for her.

A Kentwood police officer was directing traffic around the crash scene and noticed a car driving by with damage to the front passenger side and happened to jot down the license plate number. The officer had the plate traced and learned the 82-year-old man lived only five miles from the woman that had been

When police went to the man's home, his wife answered the door and said her husband had hit a deer the previous night and was at an auto repair shop. The police located the shop, found the man, his car, and a dead deer in the trunk.

Police questioned the man finding out he had contacted area shelters to donate meat from the deer, but no one would accept the deer. Kentwood officer wrote in his report the man said, "Since no one wanted the deer, he was going to put it back, (but) as he was approaching he saw the emergency vehicles and thought there was a crash (so) he just went to the (repair shop), dropped off the car and told them about the deer in the trunk."

Police checked the 911 call time of 9:36 p.m. the night before, right around the time Stokes had come up missing.

The officer noticed the deer was small and no way could have caused that much damage to the man's car. The officer's keen eye also noticed the deer was already bloated and smelled, indicating the deer had been dead for several days. Not to mention there was no deer hair where the car was damaged. The deer only had a little blood coming out of its nose, and the flesh had not been broken, which meant the body matter on the car did not come from the deer.

The man was adamant when he told police he did not see a person and hit a deer. He said he found the deer where he hit it with his car.

Some city workers also told police that two deer had been hit in the area but could only find one of them. Assuming the other was is in the man's trunk.

A DNA test proved the flesh found on the 82-year-old man's car was from Stokes and not a deer.

After Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker reviewed the evidence, and the fact the man had believed he hit a deer, had no prior criminal history or bad driving record, determined not to press charges.

WOOD reported that Becker said, "We have to show he left the scene knowing, or at least having a pretty good idea, that he hit a person, not a deer." Unfortunately, all the evidence shows is that he truly believed he'd hit a deer. Unless he's some sort of criminal mastermind, and he came up with this. But he's an elderly gentleman, over 80 years old so, there's nothing in his record to make us think he's some sore of a criminal mastermind to think that quickly and react as he did. I've been on this job long enough (to know) anything's possible. But we can't just (charge) on possible. We have to prove things and it's hard to show he committed a crime when you have all this evidence that he's thinking he hit a deer."

The Stokes family is not convinced of the man's story and has since hired an attorney and is considering a wrongful death suit.

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