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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Terrified dog is rescued by kayaker a MILE from coast after fleeing hit-and-run car crash that killed its mother-of-three owner

By Julian Gavaghan

This is the moment a dog was rescued by a fisherman after swimming a mile out to sea when his owner was killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver while jogging.

Rory O'Connor plucked petrified Barney out of the water while off the coast of Sarasota, Florida.

His owner Donna Chen, a mother of three, was run over and killed by an alleged drunk driver as she jogged with Barney - who ran for his life when he saw the accident.

It was only as he headed for the open ocean that he came across the kayaker, who heaved the bleeding and shivering pet on to his small vessel and returned to shore before taking the animal to a vet.

Scroll down for video

Lucky find: The unnamed man spots Weisla Barney in the waters just off Sarasota in Florida

Tragedy: Blake Talman, 22, left, is accused of running over and killing Donna Chen, pictured right with her dog Barney who ran from the scene after it saw its owner hit and killed

To the rescue: The kayaker springs into action and adjusts his position to grab the dog and bring him on board

The kayaker later discovered that the dog was also in shock after witnessing the death of owner Ms Chen, 53.

Blake Talman, 22, is accused of running down Ms Chen while driving at 90mph in a 40mph zone after first escaping from another wreck on Saturday.

Days after the crash, a video emerged revealing the amazing rescue of her dog.

Posting the video on YouTube, the fisherman known only as midget2000x, said: ‘Our guess is that he was so freaked out and traumatised that he just wanted to get as far away from there as possible.

‘And when he ran out of land, he took to water.

‘I feel lucky that I was there fishing, because there was no place for him to go and I don't know if he could have made it much further.’

Hero: The man notes the dog's injuries before taking him back to shore

Back to safety: The dog was obviously traumatised by his experience and wouldn't leave the kayak

Happier times: Ms Chen pictured with her three children

Barney has now been returned to Ms Chen's bereaved husband and children and is recovering.

The mother’s death occurred just 40 minutes police say they had warned Talman and his friends to leave a beach concession stand because they were upsetting other customers with their allegedly drunken behaviour.

He walked away with a plastic whiskey bottle under his arm before getting in a Nissan Altima in his hands, according to friend David Brewer, who was a passenger.

Mr Brewer, 24, whose right eye was yesterday still swollen shut and purple from the crash, said that the friends went to the beach with two bottles of liquor, looking to have a good time.

‘We did, and some lady paid the price for it,’ he told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Mr Brewer said he, Talman and another friend, Michael Blakey, 25, were at the Siesta Key Beach pavilion around noon, drinking whiskey and listening to music.

Shaken: The fishermen presumed Barney had ended up swimming out to sea because he wanted to escape the horror of what had happened to his owner

Talman, who was fired from his job at concession stand there weeks earlier, was disturbing families there, according staff who alerted deputies.

Officers arrived and ordered the group to move - but Blakey allegedly started yelling abuse at the deputies as he left, so they arrested Blakey on suspicion of disorderly intoxication.

They then walked off to his car

Wreckage: What was left of the alleged driver, Blake Talman's, car after the incident

They sat in the parked car, drank some more, turned on music and then left, Brewer said.

At about 1.10pm, Talman is said to have struck a truck while driving along a beach road.

He is then believed to fled, driving 50mph above the speed limit before hitting a pole and striking Ms Chen.



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