On Thursday night, May 12, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Kanab resident and Mohave County Sheriff’s Office K9 Deputy Jeremy Felish, along with his K9 Brutus were shaken up after a van rear-ended their vehicle. They were pulled over on the side of the road assisting a motorist, when Felish saw the van careening towards them. Felish was outside of the vehicle wrapping up the scene, when a white van with two passengers rear-ended Deputy Felish’s SUV with K9 Brutus inside. The crash occurred on the shoulder of south Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge between Mesquite and St. George. The accident backed up traffic for about an hour, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Deputy Felish’s wife Desiree shared, “Being a LEOW [law enforcement official’s wife] is not for the faint of heart. Knowing something could go wrong or potentially receiving a call or that knock at your door is always in the back of your mind. But, you kiss your officer goodbye, tell them to be safe and pray to God they make it back home to you. We are constantly told to ‘trust their training’ and ‘let go and let God’ so we don’t worry ourselves sick. When the accident occurred, Jeremy was in the part of the gorge where there was no cell service. I received a text from him around 12:17 a.m., and it said, ‘we’re both ok. Brian is bringing us home soon.’ I woke up randomly at 12:40 a.m., checked my phone and noticed the text. My heart dropped when I saw the pictures, even though I knew he had said everything was ok. Seeing the pictures made it even more real and that’s when my emotions took over. I went from shocked, to angry, to waking up the next morning very sad, thinking about the “what ifs.” I wondered what Jeremy was thinking during those moments. I texted Jeremy and asked what happened. I got a text back saying, ‘thought we were dead, I’ll call when I can.’ I thanked God he was alright and seriously felt someone was watching over both of them that night.”
Anita Mortensen, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said, “Deputy Felish and Brutus are ok, but shaken up.” She continued, “They were given the next day off work, and Brutus will be following up with his veterinarian.” The two people in the white van were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries. It was a heartbreaking moment for Deputy Felish, who had to watch his car get rear-ended, knowing his beloved Brutus was still in the vehicle. Felish had to jump the median to avoid being hit by the impact of both vehicles. While he was safe, he was mostly worried for his buddy, Brutus. Brutus walked away with some bruising and will have a few weeks off. Felish considers himself lucky, as he walked away with a few scrapes, but not as many of his police compadres have been as lucky over the years. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, four police officers have been struck by vehicles and died, including four K9s over the years in Utah. It is critical to slow down, move over and be aware when approaching a police officer on scene.