APD: Driver who killed deaf boy’s service dog will not face charges
Last updated at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5
Police have identified the man responsible for hitting and killing J.J. Anderson’s service dog, Scooby.
“Daniel Calderon was driving northbound on Boniface on September 29, 2016, when he struck a dog that ran out into his lane of travel,” Anchorage police spokesperson Renee Oistad wrote in an email to KTVA Tuesday.
Calderon told police he saw the deceased dog, then proceeded to a nearby Holiday gas station where he called animal control to report the death. He was later contacted by an Anchorage police officer.
“Calderon has not and will not be cited as he immediately self-reported the collision as required,” Oistad wrote. “There was nothing criminal involved in what happened.”
A broken red collar is a reminder that there’s something missing at Valerie Anderson’s East Anchorage home.
It’s the collar that belonged to Scooby Doo, the family’s labrador retriever, who was 12-year-old J.J. Anderson’s best friend.
J.J has special needs and wears cochlear implants to hear. The family got Scooby to be a companion for J.J just in case something went wrong.
“When [Scooby] was 6 months old, he detected a seizure for my son and brought him out of it really quick,” said Anderson.
The pair had a daily routine, a walk through their neighborhood and over to Boniface Parkway, then a quick stop at Anderson’s job at Alaska Pretrial Services, before heading back home.
But on their last walk down Bonficace Parkway Thursday morning, Scooby was hit and killed near 22nd Street by a driver in a black truck. Instead of stopping, the Anchorage Police Departmnet says the driver sped off.
Cindy Jicinsky was one of the drivers who, seeing Scooby in the road and J.J crying on the sidewalk, stopped to help.
“He was obviously very distraught,” said Jicinsky. “The dog may have run into the road but still, if you hit somebody’s animal, you definitely should stop and take ownership of that.”
APD officers and two gentlemen helped J.J. get to Anderson’s office where they broke the news.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Anderson. “You just don’t leave a child like that, you know? I was bewildered by it.”
Those sentiments were shared by her boss, Dennis Johnson, who put his feelings into a Facebook post, directed toward the driver who fled: “Thank God the leash broke when you sped up to flee. He will heal from his physical wounds but probably not the emotional ones!!!!”
“I was just so mad,” said Johnson of how he felt Thursday night. “It was a rant, that’s all it was.”
His rant sparked kindness from the community, in the form of words and donations, including “an envelope of 5s and 10s and 20s” that the Alaska Pretrial Services office received.
Anderson says, judging by the overwhelming support from the community, it’s clear that Scooby was more than just J.J.’s dog.
“Scooby was loved by everybody,” she said. “A lot of people know who Scooby was, they know who J.J. is and it’s been an outpouring of love since it happened. And I can’t thank people enough for it.”
She says even though she and J.J. can’t get Scooby back, they know they’re not alone in the healing process.
APD says its looking for a black truck in this hit-and-run case. If caught, the driver will receive a citation and have to pay a $500 fine.
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