The driver told troopers he was heading north approaching the Bridgeport Way exit around 10:30 a.m. when a deer raced across the southbound lanes, and jumped across the jersey barrier into northbound traffic.
"The deer leapt, (and) it was struck on the front left corner of the semi truck," said Trooper Guy Gull with the Washington State Patrol. "It turned broadside in the air and came through the windshield broadside and landed on the steering column of the truck."
Despite the commotion, the driver was able to get the semi pulled over to the shoulder without hitting any other cars.
Trooper Guy Gill praised the driver for keeping his wits.
"The driver did an outstanding job getting that vehicle safely pulled over to the shoulder and stopped without any incident," Gill said. "This could have been so much worse. Kudos to him for keeping the wherewithal to get the vehicle stopped and pulled over safely... we're fortunate this wasn't a major collision."
The driver sustained some minor injuries from flying glass but is otherwise OK. Gill says the driver even managed to drive the damaged semi off the freeway via the Bridgeport exit.
Gill said animal strikes are fairly routine out on rural state routes, but not so much in the heart of an urban area.
"We're talking I-5 Tacoma in the city, so it definitely doesn't too happen, and not many people looking for a deer, especially at that location," he said. "So this is one of those fluke things... we certainly don't see this too often, if at all."