By Josh Lemons
The start of hunting season for deer in West Tennessee traditionally falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. But for some, the season did not come soon enough.
A video from The Grind restaurant on Lovelace St. in Martin that has been circulating around town shows a deer jumping through the window around 8:30 p.m. on Monday night, injuring a Martin Middle School basketball player as the deer crashed through the glass on the southwest corner of the building.
Ruby Hays, along with her father Brian, mother Jennifer, little brother and friends were all seated at a table by the window when their dinner was interrupted by the deer. Ruby suffered a laceration to her left shoulder as the deer kicked her while it was breaking the glass into the restaurant.
Bradley Owens said his family was in town for a middle school basketball game. He said his daughter Ava, who plays for South Gibson, and Ruby, who is on the team at Martin Middle, play travel ball together, so after a night of competing on opposite sides of the floor, Owens’ wife and daughter accompanied Ruby and her family to the popular Martin restaurant for a late supper.
“It’s late at night, and there are six of them at the table, and they are just sitting there,” Owens said. “Ava, [the little boy] and Ruby are sitting with their backs to the window and the adults are on the other side and a deer just jumps through the window, right where they were sitting.
“If it jumps through the other window on the other side and [it] jumps on Ava’s head, she’s probably dead. Thank God he jumped through right there because it could have been a death video. It’s terrible. ”
Owens said that Ruby was taken to West Tennessee Healthcare Volunteer Hospital in Martin where she received 11 stitches and was released the same evening.
Alan Laderman, owner of The Grind Mac and Cheese Bar, said that he and the Hays family are neighbors in Martin. Laderman said he has been in contact with the family to check on Ruby and that her father said she is on the mend is expected to make a full recovery.
He said the manager, that called him to notify him of the incident, was told that a witness on the scene said he saw the deer get struck by a vehicle before crashing through the window. Laderman said the deer exited the restaurant through the back door.
According to Martin Assistant Police Chief Phillip Fuqua, due to the injuries the deer sustained the animal had to be put down. Laderman said the deer was not euthanized inside the restaurant as some have claimed on social media.
“According to a guy walking by, he said, ‘That deer was just hit by a guy’ and then it ran through here,” Laderman said. “We are sending the family some flowers today, get well balloons as well as some gift cards to The Grind and Sammie’s with a slogan that says, ‘Sorry we got a little buck wild at the Grind last night.’”
Deer season officially starts this Saturday in Tennessee.