With the polar vortex still roaring across the country, everyone is frantically doing their part to keep warm and safe. Abbye spent over a year writing about heroes for California Casualty, and recently had the opportunity to experience how some peace officers are willing to go above the call firsthand. This is the story in her words:
On the evening of January 6, the windchill in Ann Arbor, Michigan was around negative 35 degrees. The roads were frozen and icy as I got on Highway 94 headed to the airport. It was around 11 PM and pitch black out. Not 20 minutes into my drive, I hit a patch of black ice and crashed my truck head-on into a highway median. I quickly called 911 and about five minutes later, a Michigan State Trooper named Anthony Young arrived on the scene. Given the horrible road conditions, the inclement weather, and the exceptionally cold temperatures, I’m sure Trooper Young had a long night before he was dispatched to the scene of my accident. But you’d never guess from his demeanor. Upon arrival, he made sure I was okay and even asked about my dog- who had been in the car with me. I have never been in that serious of an accident and I was pretty shaken up and scared. Young was patient, calm and reassuring. I had hit a median and was stuck on the left side of the highway, but Young kept his lights on behind me to alert other motorists and keep me safe from another collision.
Shortly after a tow truck arrived on the scene, the driver inadvertently let my very frightened dog out of the car. My dog, Seamus, immediately took off, sprinting along the center median down the highway. I took off after him. Acting quickly, Trooper Young immediately followed alongside Seamus with his lights on, preventing him from crossing traffic and getting hit by oncoming traffic. Young even tried to cut off Seamus’ run by blocking him between the median and his vehicle, but Seamus hopped over the hood of his car, crossed west-bound traffic and ran off into the woods.
Trooper Young had already written his accident report and I’m sure he could’ve left the scene, or even told me I had to abandon my search for my own safety and his. Instead, Young got out his flashlight and started to help me look for my lost dog. His partner arrived on the scene, and the two troopers, the tow truck driver and I all walked the edge of the woods, calling for Seamus. Admittedly, I was a bit hysterical. I had just totaled my car and now I had lost my dog. Young remained completely calm and never once suggested we abandon the search.
It was Trooper Young who eventually located the spot where Seamus had entered the woods. He then used his flashlight to light the way as I followed Seamus’ trail. The windchill on Monday was around -35 degrees and there was at least two feet of snow on the ground, but Young didn’t give up. He stayed right behind me, trumping through the snow, until we found my freezing, terrified dog. By then, we were miles from the original crash site. When we found Shae, Young just laughed, patting him on the head and commenting on how much he must like a good evening run. I thanked him repeatedly for saving my dog, to which he humbly laughed and said I was lucky to have found the troopers (him and his partner) who were dog lovers.
Lucky is an understatement. I know it may seem like a little thing, helping some hysterical woman find her lost dog, but if you happen to be a dog owner, I’m sure you can appreciate what it would be like to total your car and then lose your dog. I had recently changed Seamus’ collar and knew his new one was without ID. It was dangerously cold and he had just been in a serious car accident, so I was sure he would be in serious trouble if we didn’t find him that night. I just recently moved to Michigan for school and Seamus is the only ‘family’ I have here. Losing him would have been devastating.