'I feared for his life': Report reveals hair-raising rescue of driver from pit bulls
ORTING, Wash. (KOMO) - Newly released photos and documents show how close a UPS driver came to losing his life when he was attacked by a pack of pit bulls at a Puyallup-area home last month where a woman refused to let rescuers through the gate.
The UPS driver, Kevin Backlund, received 133 stitches after the brutal attack and suffered from severe blood loss, according to the documents.
One of the documents, a report filed by Orting Valley Fire Chief Dave Goodwin, says the drama unfolded after Backlund had walked through a gate to deliver a package at a home in the 15500 block of 116th Street East, where he was attacked by five pit bulls. Backlund managed to call 911 and Goodwin responded to the scene in a fire department-owned SUV.
According to the report, Goodwin arrived at the scene to find the driver covered in blood, on top of a small trailer with a pit bull latched onto his leg as other dogs snarled and snapped around him.
Goodwin's report says a woman was standing at the gated entrance to the driveway, but she refused to open the gate for him or bring the dogs under control.
According to the report, the woman said, "The driver was trespassing and kicked one of my dogs. They are going to kill him." Goodwin then told her to open the gate so he could rescue the driver and she replied, "(Expletive) you. You are trespassing and I'm going to call the cops," according to the report.
Goodwin wrote in the report that a second dog then sunk its teeth into Backlund's other leg. "It appeared to me that the driver was getting pulled off the trailer and I now feared for his life," he wrote.
Goodwin gave the woman until the count of three to open the gate. When she refused, Goodwin drove the SUV through the chain link gate and up to the trailer. He instructed the driver to jump onto the roof of the vehicle, but Backlund said he couldn't make it that far, according to the report.
Goodwin then backed up and pulled up again with the passenger side of the vehicle next to Backlund, who was then able to jump through the open window into the passenger seat, kicking off the last dog as he came through the open window.
As Goodwin began backing the SUV out of the yard, the woman yelled, "You're an (expletive) idiot. Now the dogs are going to get out ... I'm going to get my gun and shoot you," the report says.
Goodwin wrote that he was able to drive away from the house. According to the report, Backlund was severely bleeding, with multiple dog bites to his arms and legs. He also was missing both shoes, which the dogs had pulled off, and his belt, which he had used to try and beat the dogs off him.
Backlund was then taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery.
A Pierce County deputy who investigated the incident wrote in his report that Backlund said he saw no "beware of dog" or "no trespassing" signs on the property, and there was no instruction in the UPS database saying not to enter the property.
When the deputy went to the scene, a man who lives at the home claimed there was a "beware of the dog" sign, and he then showed it to the deputy. It was on a small sticker hidden behind some foliage at the bottom of the gate. The man said his insurance company didn't like "beware of dog" signs because of the liability.
The newly released documents don't say whether any charges have been filed or whether the dogs, which were quarantined, have been returned to the owner.
Backlund declined to be interviewed, but released a statement expressing his "deepest gratitude" for the courageous actions of his rescuers from the Orting Valley Fire Department "that we believe saved my life."
He also wanted to thank the two Orting Valley Fire Department paramedics who stabilized him in the ambulance, Dr. Gates and his surgical team at Puyallup Good Samaritan Hospital, and for the outpouring of "support and prayer from our church family and the entire faith community."