Hunter shoots pickup truck after mistaking it for a deer, police say

An Ohio hunter was charged on Friday after he fired at a brown pickup truck when he thought it was a deer in western New York — the second hunting incident in the area within a week, authorities said.

Marvin C. Miller, 26, of Middlefield, was hunting near Snake Forest Road in North Harmony around 11:20 a.m. when he thought he spotted a deer, but it turned out to be a brown pickup truck, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. He fired his 7-mm. high-powered scoped rifle at the truck, striking the front fender of the driver’s side. Sheriff Joe Gerace told The Post-Journal Miller was “absolutely irresponsible.”

“Firing this weapon at first blush with no target, it’s absolutely irresponsible,” Gerace said. “It’s very concerning. We should be able to get through a hunting season without tragedy. This kind of thing just shouldn’t happen.”


The bullet missed the unidentified driver and the passenger, Robert Merritt, of Springboro, Pa., by just a few feet, according to The Post-Journal. The bullet also punctured the engine compartment and “disabled” the vehicle.

Miller came out of the woods to check on Merritt and the driver. He was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm across a public roadway and second-degree reckless endangerment. He was released on bail and could face additional charges after an investigation.

Friday’s incident was the second hunting accident in western New York within a week. Thomas Jadlowski was hunting on Wednesday when he thought he saw a deer and fired his high-powered pistol — but struck 43-year-old Rosemary Billquist instead. Jadlowski rushed to the woman’s side and called 911 while applying pressure to her wound. She later died in the hospital.