Road rescue: ITD Incident Response comes to aid of wayward traveler

When we first saw Vinnie, Jim Cherry of District 3’s Incident Response unit was plucking him off the freeway in early June just outside of Boise. A motorist called ITD that morning to say Vinnie had “fallen” out of a car that was traveling on Interstate 84.

Terry Zabel, Incident Response supervisor, relayed the information to Cherry, who was about 20 minutes away from the last known location. Jim traveled the freeway to the Connector until he found the kitten sitting on top of one of the large concrete barriers in the median as cars and trucks whizzed by. Jim slowly approached the kitten, speaking softly to him, and when Jim gathered him up, Vinnie was already purring.

Jim put him in the Incident Response truck and brought him back to the District 3 office. Human Resources Technician, Trish Taylor, adopted Vinnie on the spot.  She took the kitten directly to the veterinarian for an examination and pain medication. 

Miraculously, Vinnie had no broken bones, required no stitches, and had just a few scrapes on his face and paws. He stayed at the vet for three days, playing with the employees. One of the technicians came in on her day off just to check on and play with Vinnie.

“I was lucky to be able to bring him home, as they all wanted to adopt him,” said Taylor.

Vinnie is a happy, well-adjusted, good-natured young cat who now lives with numerous cats and dogs. He has become best friends with Sammy, another of Trish’s rescued cats. The two of them play — and nap — all day, every day. He has a wonderful life, thanks to an unknown motorist’s concern and the quick response and kind handling of one of ITD’s best ... and Vinnie’s hero, Jim Cherry!   

“The people of the state of Idaho are fortunate to have a compassionate person such as Jim serving on the ITD team,” said Taylor, who wanted to deflect any attention. “This is Jim and Vinnie’s story.”

In 10 years with Incident Response, Cherry has aided thousands stranded on the interstate.  But most of them walk upright on two legs!

Published 8-31-2012