An alert guide dog saved a California man and woman on Monday from an out of control vehicle that was swerving backwards down a public sidewalk at high speeds.Todd Jurek and Danielle Alvarado are both employees of Guide Dogs for the Blind, a company that trains service dogs to assist visually impaired individuals.
They were taking a O’Neil, an 18-month-old Labrador retriever, out for a training walk on Monday morning when the near-death experience occurred.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that a 93-year-old woman was reportedly trying to parallel park her vehicle when she lost control of the wheel and began driving the car in reverse down the streets of San Rafael.
"It was just an unbelievable sight to see something going backwards, barreling down the sidewalk," Jurek told the paper.
Jurek and Alvarado, who was blindfolded as part of the exercise, did not see the car barreling down the sidewalk behind them. But O’Neil sensed something was going on and jerked his head backward. The motion caught Jurek’s attention who then also looked backwards just in time to see the car headed in their direction.
The entire incident was captured on a security camera from a local business located on the same street the elderly woman’s car was racing down.
"He probably heard the commotion before the window popped," Jurek said of O’Neil’s timely response.
Amazingly, no one was hurt in the incident, including the 93-year-old driver who reportedly hit a street bench and stop light before finally coming to a stop.
"My thought was, is this car going to continue around the corner and are its debris going to fly at us?" Jurek said.
Despite everyone walking away unharmed, San Rafael police Sgt. Raul Aguilar said his department is requesting that the Department of Motor Vehicles conduct a reexamination of the drive to make sure she is qualified to operate a vehicle.
Jurek said O’Neil underwent a series of tests on Tuesday to ensure he was not traumatized by the incident. Guide Dogs for the Blind says they hope to have the courageous pop placed with an individual sometime in the coming weeks.