Man Drives into Ravine, His Dog Walks 4 Miles to Get
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Man Drives into Ravine, His Dog Walks 4 Miles to Get Help

When Troy Millhollin noticed Brandon Garrett’s dog, Blue, coming back to camp alone and injured, he knew something was off.

“When (Blue) showed up without his sister, Nova, I was like, ‘That’s not normal,’” Millhollin said.

On June 2, Millhollin, 46, and Garrett, 60, were each driving their own vehicles from Halfway, Oregon, to their usual camping spot in the woods, where they cut firewood every summer.

Garrett was supposed to be right behind Millhollin, but he never showed up. As Millhollin waited, he noticed that the scratches on Blue’s nose were actually cuts. He decided to drive back to town to look for his friend. In town, no one had seen or heard from Garrett, so Millhollin contacted other friends to start searching. By the next morning, Garrett was still missing.

Millhollin called Garrett’s brother, Tyree, who also started searching with a friend. Since Tyree grew up in the area, he knew there were two spots along the creek, hidden from the road, where a vehicle could have fallen. At the first spot he checked on US Forest Service Road 39, he found his brother’s pickup truck. But it wasn’t a reassuring sight.

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“I could see the injured dogs laying down there and I kept yelling for my brother,” the younger Garrett said. “He wouldn’t answer.”

There was no cell service at the crash site, so Tyree had to leave to call for help.

“I thought for sure when I was making the 911 call that I was calling just for a body recovery,” Tyree Garrett said. “So I was pretty heartbroken at the time.”

Later, the family realized Blue had traveled about 4 miles from the crash site to find and alert Millhollin. Meanwhile, Brandon Garrett had spent the night in the ravine, hoping for help. The accident happened when he started to fall asleep while driving, Garrett said:

“I thought I’d make camp and I didn’t. I’d come to taking a bad line on the corner and lost the whole thing and it beat me up pretty good.”

Garrett said he was thrown out of the windshield and down the hill when the truck swerved into the ravine. The truck flipped over right next to him. He couldn’t move much, so he leaned against the truck and passed out. When he woke up, it was raining heavily, and he was waist-deep in a creek, so he crawled back into the truck for shelter.

“I knew it was going to be touch and go to make it to dawn,” he said.

He didn’t see Blue, but he had his other three dogs with him, and they were also hurt.

“I was hoping just to survive because it didn’t really look like it at that point. I was in a spot where I couldn’t be seen from the road,” Garrett said.

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Just before 9:30 a.m. on June 3, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office got a report from Tyree Garrett about a crash. Law enforcement and Baker County Search and Rescue went to the scene. When Sheriff Travis Ash arrived, he saw Brandon Garrett’s vehicle tipped on its side in a steep ravine. Ash heard Garrett shouting and found him 100 yards from the vehicle with three other dogs. Ash gave first aid while the rescue team got ready. They put Garrett in a rescue basket, attached it to a rope system, and pulled him across the ravine. Garrett was then flown to a regional hospital. Garrett said he had a hairline fracture in his foot and some cuts. He is now recovering at home. Garrett mentioned he was driving his friend Millhollin’s truck when the accident happened and now wants to raise money to replace it. However, Millhollin wants him to rest instead.

“I’m not worried about the truck. As long as they all were okay. That’s what mattered,” Millhollin said.

Three of Garrett’s dogs, including Blue, are with him as he recovers, but one is still at the vet. It’s no surprise to those who know Blue, who is a mix of Pitbull, Australian Shepherd, Whippet, and other breeds, that he knew where to go after the accident. Garrett said he often spends time with the dogs in those woods, and Blue knows the area so well that he can find Garrett, find his way home, or go to Millhollin’s house.

Tyree Garrett, who has been around dogs his entire life, mentioned their excellent sense of direction and intelligence. Brandon Garrett referred to his dogs as his best friends.

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