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Service dog of truck driver killed in I-10 crash in Tucson found

By Ashley Holden

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    TUCSON (KNXV) — The truck driver killed in a crash on Interstate 10 in Tucson had a service dog with him at the time of the crash. That dog has since been found.

“It was a friendly little dog, just walked right up,” said Dave Sproul.

The Tucson man immediately fell in love with little Riley, who caught his eye after wandering into his RV Community Wednesday and running into the dog park.

“I got there I went over and the dog had about a 2-and-a-half, 3-inch segment of cholla wrapped up in its fur,” said Sproul.

He got the cactus out of Riley’s fur and decided to take the dog back to his home.

“We fed him, gave him water, and he played with our dog,” said Sproul.

“The intent was to post pictures online in the voyager online newsletter thing they have to see whose dog got lost,” said Sproul.

Sproul lives about a mile from I-10 in an area that was under a shelter-in-place order after the tragic crash Tuesday.

That crash killed truck driver Rick Immel and caused a nitric acid spill.

But Sproul told ABC15 he never thought this little dog was connected.

“Shortly after it got posted some people responded, well it looks like the truck driver’s dog,” said Sproul.

Little did he know the Tucson community was on the lookout for the service dog, after friends of the truck driver and his wife posted on social media.

“She was like, ‘Hey does this look like Riley’ and we were comparing pictures,” said Tanya Guitierrez, a volunteer for the Pima Animal Care Center. “We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I think it is.'”

Gutierrez was a part of the online search party and ultimately helped to arrange for Riley to be picked up.

“We did follow proper protocols because we were told by poison control and PACC how to handle her just in case,” said Gutierrez.

But now, just two days after the crash, Riley may be ready to head home as soon as this weekend.

“For that dog to come out of there basically almost unscathed and including the HAZMAT with the nitric acid, that’s a miracle,” said Gutierrez.

Both Gutierrez and Sproul are just happy to play a part in eventually reuniting Riley with her family.

“We knew that if we could just find that dog, and get that dog to her, that we know maybe the husband would be happy about that,” said Gutierrez.

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