By Rose Marie Scott-Blair
Fate was not kind to Ramona resident Robert Chase last Saturday afternoon when he was driving along Ramona Oaks Road in the San Diego Country Estates.
He no doubt thought he was doing the right thing when he swerved his pickup truck to avoid a dog that had jumped out in front of his vehicle.
But the maneuver caused his truck to overturn, trapping him inside and killing his own dog, which was riding in the cab with him.
Chase, 67, reportedly suffered multiple fractures to his arms and hands and was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for treatment. The Ramona Fire Department had to cut off the roof of Chase’s 1991 white Chevy 1500 truck to free him from the wreckage, said Capt. Josh Black, who was one of the responders. He said it took less than 10 minutes to free Chase.
The driver’s dog, which appeared to be an Australian shepherd, was already dead when they arrived, Black said. He speculated that the dog, which would not have been restrained in the vehicle by a seat belt, was probably killed when it was thrown into the dashboard or window.
“The dog was at the mercy of whatever he met,” Black said.
The accident occurred as Chase was traveling east on Ramona Oaks Road near Cope Road at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.“A dog bolted out in front of the driver and, when he swerved to miss it, the truck hit a tree in the center divider and flipped over on the driver’s side,” Black said. “Then it slid along into oncoming traffic, finally hitting the curb. Fortunately for the driver, the passenger side of the truck took the brunt of the damage.” No other vehicles were involved, but part of Ramona Oaks Road was closed for a time while the wreckage was cleared.