Officers Take Swift Action in Queens Midtown Tunnel to Ensure Indie the Dog Could Navigate Tunnel Safely
Pup Found a Week Later in Queens After MTA Officer Informed Owner of Her Possible Whereabouts
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today honored four Bridge and Tunnel Officers and a Sergeant who prevented tragedy from occurring to a beloved dog named Indie that traveled from the Upper West Side on her own all the way into and through the Queens Midtown Tunnel on the evening of Tuesday, June 8, and ultimately to Long Island City, Queens. Harrowing surveillance video shows the adorable dog Indie moving between cars during rush hour before ultimately heading out of the tunnel.
Informed that a canine had been spotted running against traffic into the tunnel’s Manhattan-bound tube, Sgt. Orlando Caholo ordered oncoming traffic be stopped briefly to prevent the possibility of an accident, which can occur when motorists swerve or stop suddenly to avoid hitting an animal freely running in the tunnel.
Following Sergeant Caholo’s orders, Officer Latoria Bosley, positioned at the Queens entrance to the tunnel, stopped traffic from entering the tunnel as Officers Michael Winn and Alexander Figueroa searched the tunnel for the canine. Indie – on a mission to reach Queens – managed to elude them, but the brief stoppage prevented any incident from occurring and allowed traffic to resume promptly after the dog traveled safely through the tunnel.
Although the dog left the tunnel, MTA Bridges and Tunnels’ role doesn’t end there. In the aftermath of the incident, Officer Heather Minutello, who had witnessed the incident, got in touch with the dog’s owner, Heather Angus, via social media to let her know that Indie may have passed through the tunnel and could still be in the area.
That tip led to the reunification of dog and owner, as Indie was found several days later just blocks from the tunnel in a Long Island City warehouse.
Bridge and Tunnels officials praised the officers for their quick thinking at a news conference on Tuesday.
“All five of our officers deserve commendation for their quick thinking to ensure safety of all parties – the dog, the motoring public, and our own employees,” said Daniel F. DeCrescenzo Jr., President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “Our priority is always safety.”
"Every day our officers work to protect New Yorkers, even the four-legged ones," said Chief Richard Hildebrand, Vice President and Chief of Operations for MTA Bridges and Tunnels. "I am proud of the work these four officers did to keep Indie safe while making sure drivers could get where they needed to go."
“Officer Minutello was receiving calls from 911 saying there was a dog in the tunnel. A few officers went into the tunnel, Michael Winn and Alexander Figueroa, they went into the tunnel to confirm there was a dog in there, and it was,” said Sergeant Caholo. “They stopped traffic, they put their patrol cars to stop any incoming traffic, they tried their best to catch her, she got away from them, she was pretty fast. And once they confirmed it, I went into the tunnel, and I saw her pass my vehicle.”
"I looked up at the camera and I could see her enter the tunnel in Manhattan right down here. And I watched her as she went from camera to camera, avoiding all of our officers trying to catch her,” said Officer Minutello. “I'm so glad she wasn't hurt in the process. I'm so glad she was found. So cute.”
“Thank you for having Indie and I here today to thank these amazing officers,” said Heather Angus, Indie’s mom. “I'm forever grateful for your speedy action to shut down the tunnel and for calling and that life-saving tip. I thought we may be here to pay Indie's toll because she was not wearing an E-ZPass that day.”
The MTA Bridges and Tunnels employees were presented with certificates of commendation from Chief Hildebrand at a news conference marking the culmination of Indie’s long journey home as Ms. Angus looked on.