Dog who fled fatal crash rescued by kayaker

Colette MacPhail holds Barney, who witnessed his owner Donna Chen being hit and run over by a drunk driver on Jan. 7, 2012 WTSP

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - A man kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico rescued an injured dog that was swimming offshore after fleeing when his owner was struck and killed by a car.

The bizarre and sad tale unfolded Saturday on Siesta Key, about 40 miles south of St. Petersburg, Florida.

State troopers say 53-year-old Donna Chen was jogging with her dog Barney, a Vizsla, on a sidewalk when they were struck by a car driven by 22-year-old Blake Talman. Officers said Talman had been drinking.

Barney fled, ran about a mile to the beach and started swimming. A kayaker named Rory O'Connor who was visiting his family in Sarasota found the dog in distress about a half mile offshore. He pulled the Vizsla aboard his kayak, and took Barney to a veterinarian. Later, he posted a video of the rescue on YouTube.

"He was in a lot of distress. He was shaking and I thought it was because he was cold, but he was traumatized. He was also pretty beat up. His legs were bloody," O'Connor said to CBS affiliate WTSP in Tampa, Fla.

Chen's sister-in-law Colette MacPhail told WTSP that the family was happy to have the dog back, calling him their one link to the deceased.

"For Barney, he's going to have his own adjustments. He's just a piece that came back for us," she told WTSP.

Barney is recovering from his injuries. Talman is jailed without bail.

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