Quick Action from Sprint Waste Driver Helps Save Injured Dog

With a fleet of 400 trucks on the road each day, Sprint Waste drivers are trained to anticipate the unknown and quickly and safely respond to any road hazard that comes their way. But even so, our driver Wilson Cuartas wasn’t anticipating what would unfold on his route last Monday afternoon.

Cuartas was following a pickup truck driven by Austin Azinger. Azinger’s beloved 7-year-old Golden Lab, whom he thought was secured in his kennel in the back, somehow escaped and fell from the moving vehicle — on a heavily traveled section of the Westpark Tollway near the Beltway.

Cuartas made a split-second decision to block the roadway with his truck, allowing him to personally intervene to save the injured dog’s life. 

Azinger explained how it happened to local NBC affiliate KPRC, which ran with the story later in the week: “I just got lazy and I didn’t lock the kennel with the key and somehow the vibration of the truck wiggled loose and next thing I know, there’s a lady flagging me down that my dog jumped out of my truck,” Azinger said.

Azinger said Zinger is alive thanks to the help of several good Samaritans, including Cuartas, who was able to stop traffic and get to Zinger on the roadway. “He’s my hero, my family’s hero, my dog’s hero,” Azinger said. “I would say my dog was in his hands within 30 seconds.”

Seeing the injured dog on the Westpark Tollway, Cuartas was able to stop his truck to safely block traffic behind him, turn on his hazard lights, and jump out to rescue the dog before the situation got any worse, reuniting the injured Zinger with his owner, who sped to an emergency vet for treatment. 

Azinger later reached out to Sprint Waste in gratitude for the driver’s part in helping his dog. “While 99% of the world would just drive by and cringe as they see a dog near death on or in the road, your employee did exactly what I needed to save my dog’s life,” Azinger said in an email to Sprint Waste Services President Dave Nelson. “I’m confident the story would have ended a whole lot differently if it wasn’t for Wilson, and I want every single person that knows my pup, my family and him and everyone throughout your organization to know that he did a very selfless act that is giving our family lots of hope. Hats off to a valuable asset on your team!”

Nelson agreed and said Sprint couldn’t be prouder of Cuartas’ actions. “Wilson is a seasoned professional driver, as well as a compassionate human who loves dogs, and he knew that he could safely position the truck, while using his hazard lights, and quickly and tenderly (I’m sure) pick Zinger up and get back on the road with the intention of doing whatever he could to save the dog.”

Thankfully, he was able to get Zinger to his owner quickly so he could get her the help needed. Zinger survived but faces multiple surgeries to deal with her most serious injury, a crushed leg. Azinger said Zinger is on the road to recovery and back home with her family. 

Zinger’s family set up a Go Fund Me account to assist with vet bills for the dog’s recovery. Click here to contribute or get the latest update about Zinger’s condition.

Read the local news story here https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/10/30/family-dog-survives-fall-from-moving-truck-on-westpark-tollway/


Austin Azinger (left) with Sprint Waste driver Wilson Cuartas and Zinger.