An arrest was made yesterday in the fatal hit-and-run of a Knoxville, Tenn., veterinarian who was struck while she was treating a dog that had been hit by a car.
Walter Gary Flynn faces several charges in the death of Kathyrn Gilpatric, DVM, including leaving the scene of an accident with death or injury, criminally negligent homicide, and driving with a revoked license.
“This case has stirred up the community,” police spokesman Darrell DeBusk told WATE. “You have an individual trying to provide aid to a dog struck by a vehicle. For her to be struck by a vehicle that leaves the scene has really upset a lot of people, and it should.”
On the evening of April 15, two dogs belonging to Amy Leming of North Knoxville got out of her home. One of them, a 4-month-old black Labrador Retriever named Rosalyn, ran in the street and was hit by a car.
Gilpatric, an associate veterinarian at Cat Clinic, heard the impact and came out of her house to help the dog. A police officer told her to wait until he could block traffic with his cruiser, but Gilpatric went to the dog in the road before he returned. As she worked on the dog, she was struck by a sport utility vehicle that then sped away from the scene. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she died the following morning.
“She put her own life in harm’s way to help an animal, and that’s what most of us get into it for,” Matt Brent, an assistant veterinarian at Animal Emergency Critical Care in West Knoxville, told volunteertv.com. “You never know what you’re going to do in a situation like that, but this individual obviously went above and beyond what not just any vet would do, but what most normal people would do.”
Brian Nussbaum, the owner of Cat Clinic, said on knoxvillenews.com that Gilpatrick loved animals. “She was very dedicated to the profession,” he said. “She’s probably got the best bedside manner with animals, especially with cats. She was always looking to not just better herself, but better the clinic so the clinic would better the lives of animals.”
According to knoxvillenews.com, Leming said that right after Gilpatric was hit, her other dog, a Border Collie-German Shepherd Dog mix, was struck by a car and killed. She did not know if the vehicle was the same one that hit Gilpatric.
Rosalyn, who survived with broken bones, is being treated by Brent and his staff. Brent said Rosalyn’s family cannot afford her surgery, so the clinic has established a fund to help pay for the dog’s vet bills. To donate, send a check to the Animal Emergency Critical Care Center, c/o “Rosey Fund,” 10213 Kingston Pike, Knoxville TN 37922.