Man, Puppy Survive Devastating Accident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TATUM (KLTV)

Man, Puppy Survive Devastating Accident

It's a tale of amazing survival. A truck driver, traveling with his puppy, were involved in a terrible accident that responders say should have taken their lives. On top of that, the man and his best friend were seperated, until some good hearted East Texans reunited them. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane has their touching story.


Crunched, mangled metal was all that was left of Dan Smith's 18-wheeler.

"Pretty amazing that he's alive," said Lee Fleming.

Tatum Police say he swerved to avoid another car, but his truck flipped over a guardrail. It would take rescuers at least 2 hours to cut him out.

"First thing I told him was I said, 'Daniel, we're going to get you out of here safely if you'll just hang tight with us it's going to take us a while but we're going to get you out,'" said Lee.

But Dan's best friend, Chia, was his only concern. Even though he was severly injured trapped underneath the wreckage.

"I understand the truck was so demolished you'd be able to fit the cab under this table here," said Henni Smith, Dan's wife.

"The first thing that he said in the accident when he was talking was, where's my dog?" said Donna Montgomery.

Desmond and Donna Montgomery of Tatum, were there and took in little Chia, treating her wounds.

"She was severely in shock and scared to death and soaking wet and depressed," said Donna.

Thanks to a microchip on Chia's collar, they were able to call Dan's wife in Georgia, and reunite them.

"All I could do was hug him and cry cause if it wouldn't be for them who knows what would've happened," said Henni.

As for Dan, he's still in ICU, undergoing reconstructive surgery.

"His upper jaw is broken, the nose had to be totally reconstructed, has very deep lacerations...bashed-in cheekbones, definitely fracture lines on the forehead and the eye orbits are broken," said Henni.

Broken but in good spirits, knowing that his best friend is okay.

"Henni told us that Chia must have been his angel in that truck," said Desmond Montgomery.

"I believe it's a true miracle that both of them will recover completely," said Henni.

Smith's wife says they're hoping to get him out of the hospital and back home to Georgia by next weekend.

This is the third wreck Smith has been in. The other two times, his pet dogs didn't make it. Henni says Dan will be making a career change once he recovers.

Courtney Lane, Reporting clane@kltv.com

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