Warrenton dog runs home after owner hit by truck, alerts family of accident

Maya the Belgian Malinois (center) ran straight home after her owner Kelly Hlavinka (right) was struck by a truck. Her husband, Steve Hlavinka (left), knew something was wrong when he saw Maya alone. Courtesy Photo.

By Hannah Dellinger, Special to the Culpeper Times

When Warrenton resident Kelly Hlavinka began teaching her Belgian Malinois, Maya, the command “home,” she didn’t realize she would soon face a real-life emergency to apply the training to.

Maya ran “home” on Feb. 5 after her owner was struck by a pickup truck while the two were on their daily walk. She went directly to her house and stood on the porch, about a block or two away from the accident at the intersection of Auburn Mill Road and Wemberly Drive. Hlavinka’s husband, Steve, saw Maya by herself knew something was wrong.

“The first thing I asked when I came to was, ‘where is my dog,’” Hlavinka recalled while recovering in the hospital this week. “I was so glad she wasn’t hurt and didn’t run off. She went straight home.”

Hlavinka was crossing from the northbound side of Auburn Mill Road around 3:30 p.m. She said she saw the truck at the stop sign and thought the driver saw her.

“I started to cross and he swerved right into me,” she said.

The driver told a Virginia State Police trooper on the scene that the pedestrian was in his “blind spot” when he made the right turn at the T-intersection. The driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and speed wasn’t a factor in the accident, according to law enforcement. He was not charged for any crimes after the incident.

Hlavinka was flown to Fairfax Inova Hospital for serious injuries. She spent more than 12 days in the hospital’s trauma unit. She underwent numerous surgeries for shattered hips and shoulders and nine broken ribs. Hlavinka said when she’s released from the hospital, she will be transferred to a physical therapy facility.

The experience has inspired Hlavinka to lobby for change in her neighborhood.

 “Something needs to be done,” she said. “A lot of people in this neighborhood walk and there are children present. The speed limit is 25 miles an hour, but people still go through there at 50 miles an hour all the time.

Hlavinka said many of her neighbors are brainstorming possible solutions, like a blinking speed limit sign.

“We are just wondering what we should do now,” she said. “My advice to pedestrians is obviously to watch out. But more importantly, my advice to drivers is to slow down.”