More than 50 emergency workers descended on a nightmare in Kentucky last week.
There were firefighters, police officers, transport supervisors, road workers and even an air crew. At the heart of the chaos, rescuers worked frantically to free passengers trapped inside an overturned RV on Interstate 24.
One of them, the driver, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second, though hurt, would survive. The third passenger was a dog named Lucky, who simply refused to leave. Even amid the shouts and sirens, Lucky stood his ground, letting the trapped passenger stroke his fur.
"He stayed right there with the victim while I was holding the victim's hand and the rest of the crew was trying to get him extricated," Bill Compton, fire chief for the Kuttawa Volunteer Fire Department, tells MNN.
"Lucky being there helped the victim keep his mind off things," he adds. "He'd pet the dog, talk to the dog."
And Lucky, despite having endured the horrific crash, wasn't going anywhere — at least not until the last passenger was freed and airlifted to a hospital.
Only then was Compton able to carry the dog from the crash site, about 100 feet up the road.
"I was trying to get him away from the noise and all the activity and hopefully trying to calm him down," Compton says.
This unlikely pair of family dog and seasoned rescuer took a breath together at the side of the road.
"Basically, Lucky and I were just sitting there trying to take a break from everything that had been going on."
Lucky would be picked up by his family later that day, but not before highway supervisor Jordan Yates snapped a picture that will speak to anyone who has ever been involved in a roadside tragedy.
"Bill is a modest and humble man," Yates later told MNN. "He truly goes above and beyond with his service to others and this community, Not just this accident. Not just this photo — all the time."