rollover accident with 7 passengers & a dog
03-17-203 mins read
I was driving our Mercedes Sprinter van one night with my five young kids, my wife, and my dog. A loose tire-axle-hub assembly hit us head-on in the dead of night. I'm a state trooper, but nothing could've prepared me for this. Here's what happened.
Customer Testimonials
Pet Safety

Words by Alan Wagner | As Told By Gunner

I was traveling in Kansas with my wife and five kids in our Mercedes Sprinter van one evening when everything went down. I’m a state trooper so I know the road pretty well, but there was nothing we could do about this particular situation. 

A southbound vehicle pulling a gooseneck trailer on the interstate lost its whole tire-axle-hub assembly. That entire thing jumped the concrete barrier, right into our lane. We were headed northbound and it hit us dead on. It was very dark, and this came out of nowhere – I barely had time to yell “hang on!” to my six other family members (and dog) in the car.

The impact broke the van’s steer axle and triggered the airbags. With no axle to steer, we slammed straight into the concrete barrier and rode that median, which eventually pulled the vehicle onto the driver’s slide. From there it was like sledding on ice. We cleared the shoulder and ended up in a ditch.

Everybody in my family was okay without major injuries; thank goodness for car seats and seatbelts or it absolutely would’ve been a different story. I remember thinking that I could hear all the kids screaming, which was a good thing because it meant they were alive!

The vehicle was totaled, and as you can imagine the whole thing surreal. The reason I originally wrote the review that said the kennel might’ve saved my daughter from harm – and for sure saved my dog – is this: 

We have the G1™ Medium for our Australian Shepherd-heeler mix, Wyoming. She’s a cow dog (we raise cattle on our farm), but definitely the family pet too. Funny story about how I got her a Gunner in the first place, but I’ll explain more on that below.

When we travel in the Sprinter van, we situate the crate in the cabin. At the time of the accident the Gunner kennel was sitting in between a set of captain chairs on the passenger side. It’s an important part of the story to note here that the kennel wasn’t tied down (I wasn’t sure where the tie-down points were in this van, you can be sure I’ll look for that first with the next vehicle). This time, that actually factored to my family’s benefit.

When the vehicle overturned and laid on the driver’s side to ride the median, the kennel flew from the right-hand side to the left-hand side. It wedged itself between one of my daughter’s knees (she was in a booster seat) and the direct seat in front of her. Remember that she was sitting on the driver’s side – where the van turned over to ride the median – and there was a very big glass window, which broke in the middle of all this.

The Gunner kennel did two things, I believe:

1) This is a very top heavy vehicle. When it turned over, I could very well see the momentum and gravity to cause her to slip out of her booster seat. The kennel stopped that from happening;
and 2) the crate protected my daughter’s face from the window that shattered right in front of her, and the debris that came in after that. Everyone else got chards of glass in their bodies, their faces – but not her, because the kennel took the full brunt of it. And she was right there at the worst of it.

If our dog had been in a junk crate and not a Gunner kennel, I’m pretty certain it would’ve turned into chards during this accident. If that had happened, well I don’t want to guess at the potential outcomes.

The kennel took the abuse, but my dog is ok. The crate got chewed up a bit but the structural integrity doesn’t seem to be compromised. Even if it hadn’t disintegrated, there’s no way any other crate door would’ve stayed closed. That would mean my dog had been bouncing around the inside of the van with my five kids and wife, either becoming trajectory to harm them or a hazard to itself. So I’m thankful to Gunner.

Back to the funny store on how I heard about the kennel – I mentioned I’m a state trooper. One day several months back, I stopped a vehicle. This guy was a hunter and he had two Gunners in the bed of his truck. I had never seen them before and I asked him about it. He took me back there, showed me what he liked about them. Gotta say I’m pretty glad I stopped that guy that day.

Please note: Gunner recommends strapping down your kennel with our Gunner strength-rated straps 100% of the time.

Read more Gunner Save Stories: “A Car Running From The Police Hit Me At 130MPH

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G1™ KENNEL
Regular price
499
Sale price
499.00
5 Star Crash Tested. The original.
Double-Wall Rotomolded. 2x impact protection.
Lifetime Warranty. All kennels.
American Made. No corners cut. View More Details
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Color:Gunmetal
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TIE-DOWN STRAP KIT
Regular price
79
Sale price
79.00

GUNNER strap sets are the only ones that we recommend, and have met each of the brand’s crash test standards. They are the straps that the Center For Pet Safety recommends using when anchoring your crate to your vehicle for 5 Star Crash Test certified safety.

Our new & improved tie-downs are made with an extra-thick custom cam buckle for additional break strength and a synthetic material that ensures you can leave these out 24/7: better guarding against fading and stretching, and perfect for high abrasion environments.

Read why it's important to use GUNNER straps for safe travel.

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Strap Color:Blaze Orange
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PERFORMANCE PAD
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Starting from
89
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89.00

This GUNNER tough-skin insert provides a 3/4” pad of cushion for the crate, as well as waterproof comfort for the sporting dog’s tired joints on the ride home.

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GUNNER FAN KIT
Regular price
229
Sale price
229.00

Your dog works hard for you – this fan works hard for your dog. The GUNNER Fan Kit is a high-powered device designed to mount easily to the crate, with a stainless steel mounting rod and custom tensions bolts. Built to provide significant ventilation, especially while kennel is stationary. A durable structure, just like our customers are accustomed to.

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Fan Color:Black
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Regular price
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Sale price
499.00
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79
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99
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99.00
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229
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Customer Reviews
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Filter Reviews:
BM
07/05/2021
Brandon M.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
It’s like an insurance plan….

This is by far the best kennel made. I use mine daily and they take lots of abuse. They never even seem to wear at all. Hose them off with soap and water and they look brand new. I encourage all of my puppy buyers to get them as well. It’s like an insurance plan for your best friend!

GUNNER G1™ KENNEL Review
KT
06/14/2021
Kris T.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? TravelHomeHome & Travel Equally
Wow, Just Wow

Wow, this kennel is the Yeti of dog kennels! everything about this kennel is first rate. Yes, there are cheaper, but none can compare to a Gunner kennel.

AL
05/31/2021
Alec L.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Amazing travel kennel

This thing is built like a tank. I have no doubt this will protect our little guy if we are ever involved in an accident. We recently completed an 800 mile road trip with him in the crate. It was well worth the money. This was the first time he was calm in the car and not whining. He slept easily during the drive. We felt calm know he was secure and comfortable. Cannot recommend this crate enough!!

AO
05/08/2021
Angus O.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Unlike any other crate I have seen

I purchased two Gunner kennels, a medium and a small, for my pups. Immediately, you understand this is a different level of product compared to what you’ve used before. The construction is fantastic and legitimately heavy duty. I feel so much better knowing I’ve done everything I can to keep my dogs safe in case of a worst case scenario.

PK
03/18/2021
Patrick K.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Best purchase for my best friends

I’ve been buying cheap kennels for the four years I’ve owned my dogs, none of them seemed to hold up. I’ve wanted a Gunner for a year now, and the more I read stories of how they have saved dogs lives, it made me think of how losing my best friends would damn near **** me. So I made the purchase and will never look back. It is one solid kennel and I will not let the kennel hold me back from traveling farther to hunt anymore. It’s well worth the investment. I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for, and this will not let anyone down.