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June 25, 2009

Close Call for a K-9 (and some humans)

Officer, K-9, motorist safe after Hialeah canal crash

The Miami Herald

A police officer, his dog and a young woman escaped their submerged cars Wednesday when both vehicles collided and landed in a Hialeah canal.

Hialeah police Officer Joe Thomas had his sirens wailing and lights flashing when he sped north on West Fourth Avenue on his way to an emergency call, police said. For unknown reasons, his cruiser and another car driven by a 19-year-old woman collided about 11:15 a.m. as they neared 37th Street, police said.

Both cars swerved out of control and burst through barriers near the canal that runs parallel to West Fourth Avenue. The crash sent the marked cruiser -- with Thomas driving and his 5-year-old Belgian Malinois in the back -- as well as the other car into the water.

A witness pulled over his car and jumped into the water to save the young woman, whom police identified as Jenny Dominguez. Thomas opened his window and swam to safety -- but the dog was still inside, and the car was filling with murky water. So he jumped back into the canal, joined by other police officers who had arrived. They pried open the tiny window behind the driver's-side seat and pulled out the dog, named Shaq.

''He's mad as hell, but he's OK,'' said Detective Carl Zogby, a police spokesman.

Thomas, Dominguez and the witness, who was not identified, were treated for minor injuries.

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