Man recovering from sinkhole crash alongside best friend

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HANOVER, Colo. (KKTV) - One man's long road to recovery is just getting started following a horrific crash earlier in the week on Old Pueblo Road.

Rufus, who went missing after Tuesday's crash, was found with a shattered leg. He will be recovering from his own injuries right alongside his human.

But he'll be taking that journey with his best friend by his side.

To see the crash early Tuesday morning, it's miraculous everyone survived.

The first driver was traveling over a culvert on Old Pueblo Road when the road collapsed under them. He or she climbed out of the 8-foot-deep sinkhole and left their vehicle behind, which Jason Zimmerman crashed into when he drove into the crater himself. Zimmerman called 911, but his would-be saviors from the Hanover Fire Department, unable to see the collapsed road in the darkness, drove into the hole themselves. The fire truck landed on Zimmerman's car and two firefighters were ejected.

Miraculously, they're all alive: Zimmerman, the firefighters, and Zimmerman's loyal companion Rufus, who ran from the scene after the crash.

Thanks to one of Zimmerman's dedicated friends and a few volunteers who searched every day, Rufus was found Thursday.

"I'm just glad that when he does wake up from sedation, we won't have to give him any more bad news," Rebecca Hawkins told 11 News over the phone Thursday evening.

Rufus and his human are both in bad shape -- Zimmerman suffered a collapsed lung, while one of Rufus' back legs is shattered and beyond saving. It will have to be amputated.

But both will live -- and will heal right alongside each other.

"That's his baby!" sister Stephanie Coleman told 11 News.

She said though Zimmerman -- who opened his eyes for the first time Friday -- is still not entirely aware of why he's in the hospital, he knew Rufus was with him. Rufus was the first thing he asked about.

"He asked, ‘Well, where is my dog?’ So he was aware that the dog was in the truck, and he was aware that the dog was already missing and gone because the firefighters were telling him, ‘We don’t know what you are talking about, there is no dog.'"

The family is grateful to everyone who helped reunite Zimmerman and Rufus.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Zimmerman. Click here if you wish to donate.

Since 11 News aired Zimmerman's story Friday night (the video can be seen above this article), friends of the injured firefighters reached out and notified us that a GoFundMe page has been set up for them. The firefighters both suffered injuries as extensive as Zimmerman and Rufus. One reportedly broke his pelvis and has undergone several surgeries, and the other suffered a broken nose and several fractures in his face and spine. Friends say they are in good spirits and are expected to recover. Both have been discharged from the hospital.

That GoFundMe page can be found here.