HOWELL — A township woman was lucky to escape a collision with a deer on Monday morning without suffering serious injuries as the animal went through the windshield and into her backseat.

The crash happened on the southbound side of Route 9 near Bergerville Road. The driver, identified only as "Melissa," struck the deer with her 2004 Toyota Rav4.

Police said the woman attempted to avoid the collision but the impact shattered the windshield and collapsed part of the roof.

"After the collision and despite the damage, her being injured and not knowing if the deer was still alive, Melissa had the composure of bringing her vehicle to a safe stop in the shoulder of the roadway," police said. "We praise the actions of Melissa. This had the potential of being deadly not only for her but for other motorists well. She did everything right."

Deer crashes through SUV in Howell. (Howell Police Department)

It was two years ago that a deer leaped into a car in Howell. In that incident, the driver hit the deer and a responding police officer's dashcam caught the woman struggling to get the still living deer out of the vehicle. The driver suffered minor injuries while the deer died of its injuries.

Deer crashes through SUV in Howell. (Howell Police Department)

Deer collisions are nothing new in New Jersey, and especially in Monmouth County. According to AAA there were 4,463 deer collisions between October and December of 2016. Out of that total Monmouth County alone had more than 500 such crashes. Last year New Jersey drivers submitted 531 deer related claims, the second most only to California.