Thursday, February 23, 2006
Good people in Mississippi
• Trooper rescues wreck victim’s blind puppy

Staff Writer

A blind puppy named Marshall was reunited with his owner last week following an automobile accident on U.S. 78 that landed the driver in the hospital and the pet on the roadside.

Thanks to patrolman Johnny Smith, Marshall was found, handed over to the Marshall County Humane Society and reunited with his owner Teresa Gillard from Kentucky Friday afternoon.

Shelly Sharpe, vice-president of the Humane Society, said Marshall was an apt name for the puppy, since he landed in a ditch and was found right here in Marshall County.

“Is that not the funniest thing?” Sharpe said.

Patrolman Smith and the wrecker driver who picked up Gillard’s crushed van are to be thanked for a second good deed, according Sherry Janssen, president of the county Humane Society.

She said Gillard was carrying about $1,200 cash in her purse. Marshall was believed to have been thrown out the windshield when the van overended and then rolled several times, according to Janssen. Gillard’s purse and money also landed on the roadside.

“The lady’s cash and money was spread everywhere,” Janssen said. “And the patrolman and wrecker driver retrieved every single penny and her purse and returned it to her.”

Janssen said the actions of the patrolman and wrecker driver show there are good people who care in Marshall County and Mississippi.

She said Gillard had been visiting her daughter and son-in-law at Snow Lake and was on her way to see her son in Arkansas when the accident occurred.

The single vehicle accident occurred Thursday about 9:30 p.m. about a half mile west of the Holly Springs Exit on Highway 78 when Gillard reached down for something, and her vehicle got caught in gravel on the shoulder and rolled.

Patrolman Johnny Smith found the puppy in the ditch while cleaning up after the accident, Sharpe said.

Smith called the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department which put him in touch with the Humane Society.

Sharpe said she got the call to come to the rescue just as bingo was over at the VFW.

Smith was out picking up debris after the accident when he almost stepped on Marshall, who was in a ditch about 100 feet from where the wrecked vehicle had come to rest.

“The trooper went to the car and got a blanket and it happened to be his (Marshall’s) blanket,” Sharpe said. “He crawled right into the state trooper’s arms and went to sleep.”

Sharpe said Gillard had already been transported to the hospital in Memphis when trooper Smith found the pet.

“I was called to the accident scene around 10:30 p.m. He was sound asleep in the blanket,” Sharpe said.

Marshall, a long-haired Dachshund, is a young puppy, apparently blind since birth.

Sharpe said the Gillard’s son-in-law, Angel Rodriguez, called the Highway Patrol from his cell phone at the hospital around midnight and learned that Marshall was in good hands.

“I talked to Angel at midnight at the hospital,” she said. “When Angel showed up at the hospital, Marshall was the first thing she asked about. Marshall got to sleep with me the whole night.”

Trooper Smith was very impressed with Marshall and said he would love to take the pet home.

“I can’t take care of him,” Smith told Sharpe.

Sharpe’s father Bill Janssen said that Angel Rodriguez picked up Marshall about 2 p.m. Friday at The Rental Barn. Teresa Gillard was back with her family at Snow Lake, doing fine, with just a couple of broken ribs, he said.

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