WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A driver struck an elk on Interstate 25 just north of Highway 66 early Saturday morning. 

Rick Tillery with Mountain View Fire Rescue said the crash happened around 3:43 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-25. 

“This is the first time that I’ve heard of a 7 by 7 elk being hit on Interstate 25 down here outside of the foothills,” Tillery said.

He said a second car swerved to avoid the elk and flipped. No one was seriously injured.

“It really is incredible when you’re looking at these photos to know that no one came away with any kind of major injury,” Tillery said.

Kara Van Hoose with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said elk and deer migrate down to lower elevations as temperatures start to cool and are most active during dusk and dawn.  

“These are when animals are most active, looking for food and water. So, it’s also a dangerous time for drivers as well because there may not be enough light necessarily to see the animals crossing the road,” Van Hoose said.

So far this year, Colorado State Patrol said troopers have investigated 2,080 wildlife-caused crashes. 

“Pay attention at all times especially after dark because you never know what’s going to come around the corner when you’re traveling at high speeds like we do here on I-25,” Tillery said. 

In 2022, they investigated 3,214 and 3,027 in 2021. In 2020, they recorded 2,810 wildlife-caused crashes.