Beloved pit bull remains missing after car accident near Vail
Community rallies to help search for Izzy
On Saturday night, Eagle County resident Chance Patterson was driving on I-70 near Vail when he was involved in a serious traffic accident. Rescue workers at the scene found Carlitos, his German shepherd, lying dead next to him. Isabella, Patterson’s pit bull, survived the crash, but remains missing after rescue workers were unable to capture the frightened animal, and a band of locals have taken on the search for the canine.
The accident happened at 10:59 p.m. Saturday when a black 2003 westbound Chevrolet Suburban driven by Samantha Kellenberger, 24, of Denver, crossed over the median and into the eastbound lane of Interstate 70 near the East Vail exit, Trooper Jeffrey Chmielewski, public information officer with the Colorado State Patrol, told the Vail Daily. The crash occurred in a construction zone with narrowed lanes and a reduced speed limit. No workers were present.
Patterson remains hospitalized with serious injuries.
“It completely totaled his car,” his mother, Kansas resident Diana Patterson, said over the phone Tuesday morning. “It was pretty much unrecognizable. … A truck driver who witnessed the crash said he was surprised Chance made it out alive.”
After learning of the accident, Diana contacted the Vail animal shelter to see if anyone had found Isabella, known as Izzy. Shelter employees told her to post a notice on the Pets of Eagle County Facebook page, and the outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming, she said. People were using the social platform to share photos of Izzy as other community members were discussing search efforts underway. Diana said the Vail animal shelter had also received calls offering to help pay for Carlitos remains.
“After I posted that on there, I was just overwhelmed by all the people that just sprang to action,” she said. “People started contacting me and organzing a search party. I just thought, ‘What a wonderful community Vail must be for people to come together to help in a situation like this.”
Izzy was spotted Monday around noon on the bike trail near the 182 mile marker. She was then spotted again this morning on Vail Pass. Holly Walthers, who owns Vail Doggy Day Spa & Lodging where Chance was a frequent customer, said Izzy is friendly with both dogs and people, but is skittish from the accident. Walters is out looking for the pit bull, and asks that if there is a sighting, to call immediately, as she believes Izzy will come to a familiar face.
“His dogs are like everything to him,” Diana said. “I just don’t even have words to express how grateful I am to everyone. It’s just such a blessing to have a community like that that comes together during a tragedy and they want to help people that they don’t even know. I’m just so grateful.”
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