A 63-year-old blind man and his seeing eye dog have both died after they were hit by a car while walking on a highway in Victoria. Raymond Meadows from Bendigo and his black Labrador Gerry were hit by a Hyundai sedan while they were walking along Calder Highway in rural Wedderburn, which is to the north of Melbourne, at around 6:40 a.m.
Mercury News reported that Meadows had been wearing a hi-vis vest which had flashing lights and had been on his usual route to the gym. Highway patrol officials said that the man has been walking in an area where there were no street lights and was hit in the dark.
Campaspe Highway Patrol Senior Constable Paul Nicoll said: "He had his guide dog, a cane and was wearing a high-vis vest with flashing lights but we are unsure if they were working at the time." The authorities said that it was possible Meadows was walking in the southbound lane and wasn't seen by the driver.
Even though an air ambulance arrived at the scene, the man could not be saved. His 2-year-old guide dog Gerry, who was provided to him by Vision Australia, also died on the spot. The driver of the vehicle, who is in his 20s, stopped to provide assistance before he was taken to the hospital for shock.
Friends and family of Meadows are mourning him and have described him as "very friendly". He was known to take long walks to the news agency every morning. A relative told the publication: "He will be dearly missed." Meadows' wife rushed to the scene after she found out about the accident and is reported to be "extremely sad".
Vision Australia said in a statement that the man and dog had "touched the hearts of many" at the organization. General manager David Speyer told the Herald Sun: "This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Ray’s family, our staff, puppy carers and all that knew them."
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