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Puppy injured in Thursday wreck dies

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Driver of Grand Am listed as stable in Louisville hospital

By Sarah Bennett

A 3-month-old puppy injured in a head-on collision Thanksgiving night on South Dixie Highway died from his injuries, according to his owner.

Wookiebahr, a chocolate Shih Tzu, was seated on a lap in the passenger’s seat in a silver Ford Escape when a white Pontiac Grand Am collided with the SUV, according to officials.

Wookie took the brunt of the Escape’s airbag, emergency personnel said, and he was transported from the scene by Hardin County Animal Control.

“He was just a joyful, happy little friend, and I’m going to miss him,” said Rebecca Wiliford, Wookie’s owner.

Wiliford said she purchased the Shih Tzu when someone was selling puppies outside Walmart. He weighed 1.9 pounds at the time, she said.

Asked about the dog’s name, Wiliford said when she went into Walmart to purchase puppy supplies, a woman at the cash register commented, “He looks like an Ewok.”

“I thought, ‘Wookies are cooler,’” Wiliford said.

Wiliford, 45, of Sonora, was driving the Escape, according to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office. She and a passenger, John W. Godbey, 41, of Sonora, were transported to Hardin Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

On Saturday, Wiliford said she has since been released from the hospital with a broken ankle.

Richard B. Lawler, 26, of Glendale was driving the Grand Am that collided with the Escape, according to the sheriff’s office. He was airlifted from the scene to University Hospital in Louisville with a “serious head injury.”

The hospital lists Lawler in stable condition.

According to the sheriff’s office, Lawler was southbound on Dixie Highway when, for unknown reasons, he lost control of his vehicle, leaving the roadway on the right shoulder.

The driver overcorrected, re-entered the roadway and was spinning when his vehicle struck the northbound Escape, sending it into a ditch, law enforcement officials said.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.