Good Samaritans rescue dog thrown from deadly I-95 wreck

German Shepherd ejected during I-95 wreck
Posted at 5:17 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 18:20:41-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Two good Samaritans rescued a dog that was thrown from a Tesla during a chain reaction crash that killed four people and injured three others on Interstate 95.

Virginia State Police responded to the scene just before 2 a.m. Wednesday near Chamberlayne Road at mile marker 82 in Henrico County.

A Chevrolet Impala traveling north on I-95 ran off the road to the left and through the median before hitting a Tesla in the southbound lanes, according to State Police.

Fatal wreck on Interstate 95 early Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

The chain-reaction crash caused the Tesla to hit a Ford Van parked in the right lane as part of a highway work zone.

All five people inside were ejected from the Impala. Four have died and one was transported to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

The driver and passenger inside of the Tesla were transported to a local hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

German Shepherd ejected during I-95 wreck
German Shepherd ejected during I-95 wreck

At the same time, there was an area-wide search for a German Shepherd that police said was thrown from the Tesla.

Mary and Eric VonCanon then found the dog sitting alongside the interstate at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The dog, found about 500 yards from the scene, was dehydrated and had minor injuries.

“There was no way I was going to leave a German Sheperd on the side of the road,” Eric explained. “She had a nip on her nose, a place on her forehead, and a little limp, but it’s remarkable she had survived living on the side of the interstate for about eight hours.”

Eric and Mary VonCanon

The couple then rushed the dog to Brook Run Animal Clinic where they discovered the dog was connected to the fatal crash.

“I think we were at the right place at the right time,” Mary said.

The VonCanon family know this breed well. They own two German Shepards and Eric worked with the dogs as a K9 officer before he retired with Henrico Police about a decade ago.

“You try to draw any good out of something and thankfully they have their dogs. It doesn’t replace any of the human loss or how this whole thing affects so many people, but you try to find the bright spot you can at the end of the day,” he stated.

Mary and Eric VonCanon's dogs
The VonCanon dogs

Eric VonCanon is still employed with the Henrico County Police as a background investigator.

A second dog thrown from the Tesla was also rescued near the crash site.

No highway workers were injured from the crash, according to State Police.

Troopers said they are investigating a report of a gunshot heard just before the crash happened. They also noted two guns were recovered from the crash scene.

Interstate 95 southbound was reopened shortly after 1 p.m. following the 12-hour closure while police investigated.

Anyone with information about this report or the crash is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police at 804-609-5656 or email them at

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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