A Placer County sheriff’s deputy and an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer were credited with saving the life of a dog that was struck by a car and pinned beneath the vehicle on Interstate 80 near Penryn.
The incident occurred at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday as Deputy Stan Semenuk, a sheriff’s K-9 handler, was driving on westbound I-80, east of Penryn and saw a bloodhound run across the eastbound lanes of traffic, according to Sheriff’s Office Facebook post. The dog jumped over the center divider and ran across the westbound lanes, prompting vehicles to screech to a halt as drivers tried to avoid hitting the dog.
Semenuk pulled over and began to slow down traffic while trying to coax the dog to come to him.
Semenuk, in a Sheriff’s Office video account of the incident, said the dog seemed frightened and confused. The bloodhound ran back into the westbound lanes where it was hit by a car. The dog was pinned beneath the vehicle with a paw under the rear tire.
Martin McQueen, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer who works out of the CHP’s Gold Run office in the Dutch Flat area, said he saw the deputy’s car, which was identified as a K-9 unit, pull over and initially thought it was Semenuk’s dog that had gotten loose.
McQueen stopped to help, and Semenuk used his patrol car to block traffic. The two men used a floor jack from McQueen’s truck to lift the car and free the dog.
Semenuk used a leash to create a makeshift collar and was able to remove the dog from under the tire.
He carried the bloodhound to the side of the freeway, where he kept it calm until Placer County Animal Services personnel arrived and took the dog to Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic for emergency medical treatment.
Because he often comes across incidents when he is off-duty, McQueen said he has outfitted his personal truck with the same type of equipment he has in his patrol vehicle. He recently added the floor jack used in Wednesday’s rescue.
McQueen, in a telephone interview Friday, praised Semenuk for his skill in calming the dog, which was frightened and ready to bite. It was amazing, he said, that the dog escaped with minor injuries and no broken bones.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said the dog’s owner arrived at the scene as the dog, named Ruger, was being loaded into the Animal Services truck. Erwin said Ruger suffered only cuts and road rash, and was released to his owner Thursday afternoon. It was not clear how the dog ended up on the freeway, she said.