CHP officer shelters crash victim’s dog
CHP officer Todd Cookston poses for a photo with Fonzie the dog. (CHP Newhall)
By Austin Dave
Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Fonzie, a passenger in vehicle involved in a Monday morning traffic collision, was sheltered by a California Highway Patrol officer. It’s worth mentioning Fonzie is a dog.

Through a series of unfortunate events, his owner sustained serious injuries after his vehicle ran over his leg near a Castaic fueling station just a few yards from bustling Interstate 5.

The man was treated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and loaded into an ambulance.

Paramedics treat the victim of a crash near Lake Hughes Road in Castaic. (Jeff Zimmerman/For The Signal)

As the American Medical Response team pulled the ambulance away from the scene, the man’s wife expressed concern for her husband and requested to visit him at the hospital. But all involved quickly realized there was a tan and white-colored problem — Fonzie couldn’t go.

CHP officer Todd Cookston embraces the wife of a crash victim near Lake Hughes Road in Castaic. (Jeff Zimmerman/For The Signal)

Enter CHP officer Todd Cookston. The uniformed man, bald, badged and tall in stature offered to find a safe place for the woman’s furry friend.

“He offered to look after him until family could come down and pick him up,” CHP Newhall Officer Eric Priessman said of the dog.

“Who doesn’t love an animal?”

CHP officer Todd Cookston poses for a photo with Fonzie the dog. (CHP Newhall)

Though it’s not part of any state procedure or policy to care for a victim’s pet, Cookston volunteered to take “The Fonz” to the station and eventually opened his home to the four-legged bulldog.

Like the “Happy Days” character portrayed in the 1970s and 80s by Henry Winkler, the dog commanded attention from everyone, Priessman confirmed.

Within minutes, Fonzie made the station on The Old Road outside of Santa Clarita city limits his domain. A photo posted to the agency’s Facebook page showed the dog laying on the floor of the station’s debriefing room waiting to receive some positive attention from the law enforcement officials.

“He really lifts the spirits around here,” Priessman said.

“It’s something different to talk about.”

Fonzie was mostly quiet throughout Tuesday afternoon, but for those who were not aware of the dog’s presence, a loud, deep whistling sound may have startled them.

The Fonz snores.

As the dog’s owner heals, family from Antelope, Calif. will travel south to Santa Clarita Wednesday to retrieve the CHP’s latest four-legged visitor.

Until then, he’ll cool his heels with Cookston and take advantage of the department’s motto of safety and service.

About the author

Austin Dave

Austin Dave

Austin Dave is an award-winning multimedia journalist. He heads The Signal's video news operations while reporting on the Santa Clarita Valley's most impacting topics.

CHP officer Todd Cookston poses for a photo with Fonzie the dog. (CHP Newhall)

CHP officer shelters crash victim’s dog

Fonzie, a passenger in vehicle involved in a Monday morning traffic collision, was sheltered by a California Highway Patrol officer. It’s worth mentioning Fonzie is a dog.

Through a series of unfortunate events, his owner sustained serious injuries after his vehicle ran over his leg near a Castaic fueling station just a few yards from bustling Interstate 5.

The man was treated by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and loaded into an ambulance.

Paramedics treat the victim of a crash near Lake Hughes Road in Castaic. (Jeff Zimmerman/For The Signal)

As the American Medical Response team pulled the ambulance away from the scene, the man’s wife expressed concern for her husband and requested to visit him at the hospital. But all involved quickly realized there was a tan and white-colored problem — Fonzie couldn’t go.

CHP officer Todd Cookston embraces the wife of a crash victim near Lake Hughes Road in Castaic. (Jeff Zimmerman/For The Signal)

Enter CHP officer Todd Cookston. The uniformed man, bald, badged and tall in stature offered to find a safe place for the woman’s furry friend.

“He offered to look after him until family could come down and pick him up,” CHP Newhall Officer Eric Priessman said of the dog.

“Who doesn’t love an animal?”

CHP officer Todd Cookston poses for a photo with Fonzie the dog. (CHP Newhall)

Though it’s not part of any state procedure or policy to care for a victim’s pet, Cookston volunteered to take “The Fonz” to the station and eventually opened his home to the four-legged bulldog.

Like the “Happy Days” character portrayed in the 1970s and 80s by Henry Winkler, the dog commanded attention from everyone, Priessman confirmed.

Within minutes, Fonzie made the station on The Old Road outside of Santa Clarita city limits his domain. A photo posted to the agency’s Facebook page showed the dog laying on the floor of the station’s debriefing room waiting to receive some positive attention from the law enforcement officials.

“He really lifts the spirits around here,” Priessman said.

“It’s something different to talk about.”

Fonzie was mostly quiet throughout Tuesday afternoon, but for those who were not aware of the dog’s presence, a loud, deep whistling sound may have startled them.

The Fonz snores.

As the dog’s owner heals, family from Antelope, Calif. will travel south to Santa Clarita Wednesday to retrieve the CHP’s latest four-legged visitor.

Until then, he’ll cool his heels with Cookston and take advantage of the department’s motto of safety and service.

About the author

Austin Dave

Austin Dave

Austin Dave is an award-winning multimedia journalist. He heads The Signal's video news operations while reporting on the Santa Clarita Valley's most impacting topics.