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Dozens of puppies rescued from overturned truck during ice storm

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Amidst the mess and headaches on the highways Friday night, two paramedics rescued dozens of puppies after an animal rescue truck overturned on I-865 on the city’s west side.

Paramedics David Peck and Austin Swaim were on their way back to Crawfordsville from dropping a patient off at St. Vincent Hospital when they saw the truck star to fish tail and then topple over.

When the two got to the truck to see if anyone was hurt, they opened the back doors and found dozens of puppies squealing and barking. The truck driver and passenger told them there were about 80 dogs.

“We tried to just kind of hold the puppies in for a while, but more kept breaking out and coming free,” said Peck.

The pair maneuvered a large crate to block the majority of the puppies from escaping and then picked up and held the rest until Zionsville fire crews got to the scene. Peck believes the dogs’ carriers protected them.

Not too far away, Stephen Weeks was on his way to work at FOX59 but found himself stuck at the I-465/I-865 split for eight hours.

“People were parking their cars in the median and walking around. Some people were getting out and talking to each other,” Weeks said.

Weeks hunkered down, opened up his packed lunch, and started praying. “Please God let this end!”

He said traffic finally started moving around 9:30 Saturday morning. That’s when he got into a minor accident.

“Not my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning,” said Weeks.

Swaim and Peck finally got to wind down at the STAR Ambulance station in Crawfordsville this morning, telling their tale to their co-workers.

“I’ve done this for roughly seven years and I’ve never had a situation quite like this I can say that,” said Swaim.

“I’ve never even seen 80 dogs in any general capacity let alone in an EMS situation,” laughed Peck who added that they weren’t heroes. “We kept puppies from running across 865, but other than that we mostly just held and petted puppies.”

The driver, passenger, and puppies waited for another truck to arrive and then got back on their way to Illinois. Peck said the people in the truck weren’t significantly hurt, but they were shaken up.

“Their injuries were very, very minor and the dogs seemed to be okay. So, they got lucky in that regard,” said Peck.

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