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UPDATED: Dog keeps vigil over master's truck at crash scene

Emergency personnel confer at the scene of an accident Wednesday afternoon as the victim's dog keeps a vigil nearby. (Sarah Smith / Enterpise)

Emergency personnel responded to what they say is one of the saddest accident scenes they've been to lately.

An elderly Nevis resident suffered an apparent heart attack as he was heading north out of town on County Road 2. He appeared to have died instantly, ambulance personnel said. Thursday he was identified as Bud Kelsey. His daughter Wendy Holsapple said he turned 78 in December. She said her father had suffered from kidney problems and took blood pressure medication.

Kelsey's pickup truck crossed the opposing lane of traffic and veered off the road into deep snow near a patch of woods.

His neighbor happened to see the truck off the road sometime after the accident and called 911 around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

But the victim's dog Zoey, which appeared to be a white shepherd, kept vigil over her master, even after crews arrived on scene. The dog wouldn't let emergency personnel get Kelsey out of the driver's seat until the victim's friends stepped in to help.

Even after Kelsey's body had been taken away, Zoey kept a vigil by the pickup, sitting in the snow. He patiently waited while the accident scene was photographed.

Authorities said a friend of the victim would take the dog home with him. Thursday a Bemidji woman contacted the Enterprise about Zoey and was put in touch with Holsapple. Zoey is around 9-11 years old, Holsapple said. Her father adopted her at around age four when some Akeley kids told him about the dog, who was going to be left by her previous owners to run away and die. Holsapple said the two have been constant companions for the past seven years or so.

No one else was involved in the accident.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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