POLICE are appealing for witnesses to a freak road crash that left one man dead and his young family traumatised.

A 38-year-old man from Watford, Hertfordshire, lost his life when a fallow deer buck was in collision with a southbound Saab car on the A35 at Beckley Common in the New Forest, just north of the East Close Hotel on Sunday, November 26.

The large animal was catapulted into an oncoming Ford Focus C-Max being driven by the Watford man.

Part of the creature smashed through the windscreen of the Ford, colliding with the driver and causing massive injuries.

Also inside the Ford were the man's partner and their two children, aged six years and 18 months.

It is thought they had been celebrating the birthday of his partner's father in Highcliffe and were returning home to Watford when the accident happened.

Firefighters from Burley and New Milton attended the incident and freed the dead man from the Ford.

His partner and the two children were taken to Southampton General Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and kept in overnight for observation.

Police say the dead man will not be named until next of kin have been informed.

The 45-year-old driver of the Saab was shocked but unhurt.

Anyone who witnessed the crash, which happened at 7.50pm, should call Totton roads policing unit on 0845 045 4545 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.

The accident is similar to one further north on the same road but closer to Lyndhurst in October 1995. Then, 41-year-old teacher Rachel Drake died when a deer was hit by an oncoming Rover car. The deer was thrown into the air and landed on Miss Drake's Renault 5. Her 84-year-old uncle George Elliot who was a passenger, suffered shock.