Kayaker, Rory O’Connor, plucked a dog from the water, a half mile out to sea, off the Sarasota, Florida coast. Having identified the dog as Barney, a Hungarian Weisla, the tragic story of how he came to be in the water was revealed.
Barney’s owner, Donna Chen (53), was run over and killed by a drunk driver as she jogged. Blake Talman (24) has been charged with one count of DUI manslaughter, nine counts of DUI with property damage and one count of fleeing the scene of a crash with property damage.
When the crash took place, Chen’s terrified dog ran towards the water and started to swim. O’Connor, a tourist from Bellingham, Washington, found the dog swimming towards the open ocean. He brought the dog ashore and to a vet.
The dog’s leg was hurt during the accident and he was also suffering from shock.
After the accident, not knowing the tragedy behind the dog’s strange location, O’Connor posted the footage from his camera on YouTube.
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The Daily Mail reported that O’Connor posted, “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.”
After he was told of Chen’s death he updated his post.
He reports “Barney is back with his family. I imagine they need him pretty bad right now. Dr. Chen reports that after the accident, Barney was suffering from what he thinks is something akin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was uncharacteristically lethargic, and they have even had to carry him outside. He seems to be pulling out of it a bit though.”
Police say that just 40 minutes before Chen was killed, Talman, the driver in question, was asked to leave the beach concession stand nearby as he was upsetting customers with his drunken behavior. He walked away with a bottle of whiskey under his arm.
Talman and his friends returned to his car, drank some more, listened to music and at 1.10pm his car struck Chen, driving 50 mph.
O’Connor updated his YouTube post saying “Many people have asked what they can do in light of this terrible tragedy. I have been in touch with the Chen family. They suggested (and I wholeheartedly second) that you make a donation to Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the name of "Donna and Barney Chen" to help prevent this from happening again. Here's the link.
Here’s Fox News’ report on the story: